Several recently discovered milestones, some carrying inscriptions, have offered new insights into the incense route that crossed the Negev during antiquity, connecting the southern part of the Arabic peninsula to Gaza via Petra.

Dr. Chaim Ben David from Kinneret College’s Land of Israel Studies Department and Prof. Benjamin Isaac from Tel Aviv University’s Department of Classics, have said even before the latest discoveries, “milestones are known only from the Roman period, and in the entire Nabataean realm, from Arabia through southern Jordan, not a single stretch of wide, built road with milestones is known in a Nabataean context – i.e., pre-106 CE.” Only three milestones from before that year were found in Jordan and Israel.

The previously unknown section of the incense route was unearthed in 2018 west of the eastern range of Mount Grafon. Two milestones were found along it on the occasion, and several others were uncovered in later surveys of the itinerary.

Interested in Kinneret Academic Studies?

Fill in your details and a study advisor will get back to you soon!