Nabataean routes in Transjordan

The article deals with the main camel routes connecting Nabataea and the Dead Sea region and Wadi Arabah. Unlike the clear definition of Roman imperial roads defining a Nabataean road is not an easy task. How do we date a Nabataean road ? Dating a Roman imperial road like Via Nova Triana is easy since we have epigraphic milestones and to be on the safe side the constructed road itself can be excavated and dated. But what about desert routes ? what about carved roads in sandstone areas ? what about routes that are not paved ?

Decades ago scholars suggested that the wide road and milestones in the Negev are Nabataean but modern research relate them to the Roman Army. Apart from the Nabataean carved steps in the Petra area mainly to religious high places it seems that the Nabataean routes were mainly simple camel trails with minor construction.

Most of the original camel trails descending to the rift valley have been later built as Roman or modern roads and apart from finding Nabataean road related structures along some routes the reconstruction of the Nabataean road network is therefore a bit speculative. The article describes seven camel routes in the Dead Sea area, two routes
in Northern Edom and four in the Petra area.

Published in: Nabataean routes in Transjordan, Michmanim 25, 2014: 7-16 (Hebrew)
Email: bendavidhm@gmail.com

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