Roman Milestones on Display at KKL-JNF Archaeological Garden.
Thanks to a joint effort of KKL-JNF and the Israel Antiquities Authority, impressive Roman milestones were moved to the archaeological gardens located in the courtyard of KKL-JNF’s Givat Yeshayahu offices, where they can be viewed safely by visitors.
The Roman Empire paved an extensive network of roads in the land of Israel, which contributed towards making their presence conspicuous and making safe trade possible.
The Romans installed stone obelisks on the roads at a distance of 1,480 meters (a Roman mile) from each other. These stones provided walkers with information about their location, and some of them had inscriptions that glorified the ruler under whose jurisdiction the road was paved.
A number of Roman milestones found in the vicinity were placed on the shoulder of Highway 38, which goes from Beit Guvrin to Beit Shemesh and was the main road to Jerusalem during the Roman era. The site, which is known as the “milestone site”, attracted many visitors, and over the years, walking next to the highway became dangerous.
Together with the Israel Antiquities Authority, KKL-JNF decided to move the milestones from Highway 38 to the archaeological garden located at KKL-JNF’s Mountain Region offices, which is part of Adulam France Park and near the village of Givat Yeshayahu.
Yehoshua (Yesho) Drey, an expert on the restoration of ancient technologies, was hired for the job, and the stones were loaded one by one onto a truck that moved them to their new home.
It is important to note that work to preserve and clean the stones will be done in the near future. Special thanks are due to the KKL-JNF Central Region Work Unit, which joined the effort and assisted in the project after receiving short warning.
Visitors can now view the impressive stones safely, as part of a visit to the archaeological garden. The garden displays items that were part of daily life in ancient times, including devices for processing agricultural produce, and artifacts of ancient roads and burial customs.
Entrance to the archaeological garden is free of charge all days of the week. On Saturday, it is possible to park the car in the small plaza outside the gate and to enter through a gate for pedestrians.
Read this article on the KKL-JNF website and see photos