JERUSALEM—Archeologists unearthed an “impressive” 2,000-year-old Roman road west of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Discovered in February, the road near the town of Beit Shemesh was preserved in an “extraordinary state,” the statement read.
Nowadays Highway 375, which connects the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit to Beit Shemesh, passes along a similar route to the ancient road.
Irina Zilberbod, director of the excavation, said that the road was up to six meters wide, continued for a distance of approximately 1.5 km, and was connected to the “Emperor’s Road,” three km of well-paved Roman road between Jerusalem and the ancient town of Beit Guvrin.
Up until 2,000 years ago, most of the roads in the region were improvised trails. During the Roman period, as a result of military and other campaigns, a local and international road network started to be developed in an unprecedented manner, according to the Antiquities Authority.
“The Roman government was well aware of the importance of the roads for the proper running of the empire,” the Antiquities Authority noted, adding that grain oil, and wine, which constituted the main dietary, were transported along the secondary routes from the villages and then by way of the main roads to local and overseas markets.