A group of archaeologists uncovered a section of a 1,800-year-old Roman road in Northern Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Thursday. Archaeologists estimate that construction was begun during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian (76 CE-138 CE) but was completed by his successors. The road was renovated in the Byzantine era.
In a statement, the IAA said the section of the road measured 26 feet wide by 82 feet long. The road is near the Bedouin village of Rumat al-Heib near Nazareth in the Lower Galilee, about 12 miles west of Tiberias.
The road was part of a system that connected Acre, Sepphoris, and Tiberias that was paved during the second century CE. The IAA dubbed the road “the Highway 6 of the ancient world,” referencing Israel’s major north-south highway.
The Romans conquered the Holy Land in 63 BCE and ruled for over 700 years. One of their major impacts was the construction of an extensive system of roads. During the great revolt (66-74 CE) the Romans constructed new roads to make their long supply lines more efficient. Their mobilization of the army required better roads than were constructed previously.
During excavations in the area, pottery fragments from the Roman and Byzantine periods were found, as well as metal items and coins dating back to the Roman period, the IAA said.The ancient section of the road was discovered during work developing the Sanhedrin Trail, a 43-mile walking path that passes between sites associated with the assembly of 71 sages of the ancient supreme court of Israel. The excavation and development work for the Sanhedrin Trail is done voluntarily, mainly by students, youths, and volunteers from all over the country, as part of a large-scale operation of the northern region of the IAA.