Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Did Bible-Era Jews Build Holy Land ‘Roman’ Roads?

“Roads are culture, links between people, the basis for commerce. They are a whole world,” says Yigal Tepper, a member of Kibbutz Yagur, farmer and Israeli scholar. Tepper, together with his son, the archaeologist Yotam Tepper, recently finished a fascinating study of rock-hewn roads in Israel. Together with relatives and a small group of friends, they walked and documented dozens of paths throughout the country.

Their research led them to contradict a scholarly consensus that rock-cut stepped roads leading to Jerusalem during Second Temple times were Roman projects. Rather, they say they were hewn by Jews who used them to make pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The book that emerged from their project, which was carried out without any institutional support, is entitled “The Roads that Bear the People — Pilgrimage Roads to Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period” (Hakibbutz Hameuhad). The name came from a term used by the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus Flavius for the pilgrimage road known as the Beth Horon Ascent.

Yigal Tepper is already bracing for criticism. “We are the only ones who claim that these roads were not made by the Romans,” he says.

For more go to Haaretz

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.