Ancient Roman road unearthed in Israel

Archaeologists discovered an ancient Roman road near Beit Shemesh, Israel. The structure was unearthed on a stretch measuring 150 metres.

The unearthed ancient road (by The Griffin Aerial Photography Company)

The ancient structure believed to be 2000 years old was uncovered as part of a project initiated by a local water company before laying a pipeline to Jerusalem. It is believed that the cobbled path was apparently a spur connecting the ancient town of Bethletepha to the main highway running between Jerusalem and Eleutheropolis (present Beit Guvrin).

Aerial view of the area (by The Griffin Aerial Photography Company)

Archaeologists believe that the road was meant to link the Roman settlement that existed in the vicinity of Beit Natif with the main highway known as the “Emperor’s Road”. The newly uncovered part of the roadway appears to pre-date the imperial highway. During excavations archaeologists uncovered coins dating to the second year of the revolt against Rome (67 AD), a coin minted by Roman prefect of Judea Pontius Pilate from 29 AD, a coin minted by Agrippa I from 41 AD, and a later Islamic coin from the Umayyad period. This hints that the construction of the Emperor’s Road is thought to have taken place at the time of Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the country, circa 130 AD, or slightly thereafter, during the suppression of the Bar Kochba revolt in 132-135 AD.

Coins found at the site (by Clara Amit)

(after Clara Amit, The Griffin Aerial Photography Company, Israel Antiquities Authority & The Times of Israel)

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