Ancient roads in the Madaba Plains of Transjordan: Research from a geographic perspective
AuthorBorstad, Karen A.
AdvisorDever, William G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe milestones, curbstones, and stone roadbeds that appear as discontinuous fragments in the Transjordanian landscape are identified as the remains of constructed Roman roads. The major Roman highway in Transjordan, built by the emperor Trajan in 111-114 CE and known today as the via Traiana nova ("Trajan's new road"), has many gaps in its material remains, particularly through the Madaba Plains. This lack of remains marking the route is an obstacle to research because the route of the via Traiana nova is thought to provide clues to the routes of pre-Roman highways. This research assumption, formulated as a hypothesis that constructed Roman roads followed the course of the natural, indigenous routes, conflicts with many of the Roman remains that appear as bridges, tunnels, and rock-cut steps that significantly changed the landscape. The via Traiana nova's route through Transjordan provides a unique opportunity to test the relationship between the routes of Roman and indigenous roads because its construction can be dated precisely, thereby providing evidence for dating the preceding, pre-Roman road. Modeling the via Traiana nova through Transjordan, using a new approach that includes GIS technology to synthesize the disparate archaeological and suggest that the via Traiana nova, when it was new, incorporated both indigenous Nabataean highways and new Roman sections that provided direct, paved roads through the Wadi al-Mujib and the Wadi al-Hasa. These new, Roman shortcuts eventually effected changes in the demographic and economic systems of Transjordan in Byzantine times.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Near Eastern Studies