The Roman Road System in the Golan: Highways, Paths and Tracks in Quotidian Life

Open access

Abstract

Roman Imperial Roads (highways) built, maintained and organized by the Roman army and provincial authorities were studied in the Golan Heights since Schumacher’s surveys in the 1880s. However, most of these were obliterated by building and agricultural activity since the beginning of the 20th century. Local ancient road system, linking individual communities and their agricultural land was never studied, since it barely leaves a trace in archaeological record. This paper presents reconstruction of inter-provincial highways passing through the southern Golan Heights, and local road system in GIS using cumulative focal mobility network (CFMN) analysis. The CFMN provides outline of natural corridors of movement in the region. From CFMN it is possible to extract path with higher mobility potential which will be tested against present evidence for Roman Imperial Highways, since it is assumed that corridors with high mobility potential would be suitable place for construction of (inter-)provincial road. Path with lower mobility potential might indicate local road system, so it would be possible to connect agricultural communities with the land they exploited; which in turn may have implications for site prediction and site-catchment analysis exploring quotidian movement of people and goods in the landscape. Two case studies in this respect are presented: the city of Hippos and settlement of es-Safuriyye.

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