The ancient road from the Dead Sea to Machaerus – a built wide road from the Second Temple period.

The ancient built road ascending from the Dead Sea to Machaerus was the main route connecting Judea via the Hasmonean and Herodian harbor of Calirohee with Machaerus. The length of the road is 8 km and it ascents 1,100 meters from the shore of the Dead Sea. The route was recorded by 19th century travelers and later investigated and mapped by August Strobel. This route was in use in the Hasmonean and Herodian period and probably also used by the Roman army in 72 AD, yet the exact date of the built sections awaits further research.

The importance of this road, that it is by now the only documented built road from the Hasmonean or early Roman period since it was not covered by the Imperial Roman road system (second century AD and onward) like other roads from those periods.
The main feature of the built road is a continuous leveled route with vertical retaining walls. The minimum width of the road is 3.5 m' and sometimes reaches the width of 6 m'. The upper parts of the road are missing and it may be that their stones were taken by the Roman army as part of the siege works.

Published in: The ancient road from the Dead Sea to Machaerus – a built wide road from the Second Temple period, Eretz-Israe- Ehud Netzer Volume 2015: 20-29 (Hebrew)

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