Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Roman road from Jerusalem to Jafa uncovered.

Photographic credit: Assaf Peretz,
courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
In an age when most our infrastructure is crumbling beneath us, it is somewhat of a marvel that Roman roads are still being discovered by archaeologists. In fairness to our modern day engineers, the Romans didn't have to construct roads and bridges to take the same daily beating that our roads endure from thousands of trucks weighing as much as 40 tons. Nonetheless, it is still impressive when modern roads use the Roman road as a base, as happens in a number of European locations. 

In Israel the Antiquities Authority is announcing that construction crews have uncovered the main road between Jerusalem and Jafa. 

An ancient road leading from Yafo to Jerusalem, which dates to the Roman period (second–fourth centuries CE), was exposed this past fortnight in the Beit Hanina neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. The road remains were revealed in an archaeological excavation the IAA conducted in Beit Hanina prior to the installation of a drainage pipe by the Moriah Company. 
The wide road (c. 8 m) was bounded on both sides by curbstones. The road itself was built of large flat stones fitted to each other so as to create a comfortable surface for walking. Some of the pavers were very badly worn, indicating the extensive use that was made of the road, and over the years the road also underwent a series of repairs. 
According to David Yeger, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “Several segments of the road were previously excavated by research expeditions of the IAA, but such a finely preserved section of the road has not been discovered in the city of Jerusalem until now”. 
“The Romans attached great importance to the roads in the empire. They invested large sums of money and utilized the most advanced technological aids of the period in order to crisscross the empire with roads. These served the government, military, economy and public by providing an efficient and safe means of passage. Way stations and roadside inns were built along the roads, as well fortresses in order to protect the travelers. The construction and maintenance of the roads was assigned to military units, but civilians also participated in the work as part of the compulsory labor imposed on them by the authorities.” 

You can read the article here

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