10 Amazing Facts About Old Roads That Not Many People Know
Roads don’t seem too hard. But old paths are not at all like that. Some of them are still around today, and they also lead to interesting mysteries, stories, and surprising facts.
Here are ten things that will make you think twice the next time you drive on a highway, from a highway of graves that kept the living alive to a famous route in the history books that never existed to a mystery thing Roman highways still do today!
Number 10: A Beach Road That’s Underwater
At the bottom of the Venetian Lagoon, archaeologists found a Roman road in 2021. Given how many roads the Romans built, these old roads aren’t always a surprise. But this path helped prove what people had thought since the 1980s. It was built before Venice was built and was 3,937 feet (1,200 meters) long. It was in line with other Roman structures, such as defensive towers, private living quarters, levees with walkways, and a port. This group of things, and especially the road, showed that there had been a large permanent settlement in the area in the past.
Number 9: A Road that Pontius Pilate Built
The minting dates, which were dropped by the builders, showed that the 722-foot (220-meter) stretch was built when Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea. Since he was in charge of the area, the road was probably built on his orders. Pilgrims probably used the road to get to the Temple Mount to worship. How so? The road wasn’t normal, though. It was beautiful. The walkway, which was 2,000 years old, was 8 meters wide (26 feet) and was made with 11,023 tons (10,000 tonnes) of limestone. The rich road also connected the Temple Mount and the Siloam Pool, two of the holiest places in Jerusalem.
Number 8: Roads on Easter Island
Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer, wrote in 1958 that the roads were only made to move the Moai statues from the quarry where they were carved to their final resting place. Heyerdahl showed statues that were lying on their backs next to these roads as proof. It looked like they had been left there while being moved. Some experts agreed, so the idea caught on with the public. But in 2010, archaeologists discovered that all of these statues had fallen off a hidden platform.
Number 7: Stonehenge is at the end of a road
The road in question has been around for a long time. Stonehenge’s builders also made it. Since the path is now below the grass line, most people don’t know about it. Archaeologists, on the other hand, have known about the road for a while and call it the “avenue.” There was a problem, though. No one really knew where the road went. Did the builders just pave a path that went by the monument and went somewhere else, or did it lead to Stonehenge? It was hard to tell because a new road was built over an old, fragile path, which damaged it in the process.
Number 6: Strange Things Happen on Roman Roads
When the Romans built their now-famous roads around 2,000 years ago, they did so to help their troops move more quickly from place to place. Over time, many of these roads started to connect to towns and cities that were doing well. This was not strange. The wealthier a town got, the more people came to visit, and more roads would have been able to handle the extra traffic. Then the Roman Empire and many of its roads disappeared. Experts thought it was safe to assume that Roman roads and modern financial hubs had nothing in common since so much time had passed and the landscape had changed so much.
Number 5: A Road That Was Used to Attack a City
A road goes for 62 miles on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula (99.7 kilometers). When it was built in 700 AD, it was the longest road in the area. It was recently found and given the name “white road” because the limestone paving would have made it easy for warriors to see even at night. Researchers think that a warrior queen named Lady K’awiil Ajaw, who ruled the Mayan city of Cobá, probably built the road. She was known to go on expeditions to take over more land, and the road looked like it was built to reach a city called Yaxuná, which was far away.
Number 4: Maya villagers were saved by this road
Researchers found it in 2011 in what is now El Salvador. They found half-eaten food and all of the villagers’ belongings. But no bodies were there. A type of raised road called a sacbe led to the settlement. Since it went by the temple and out of the village, it gave the more than 200 people who lived in Ceren a chance to quickly leave toward the south, away from the clouds of volcanic ash that came from the north and eventually filled the village. Aside from saving everyone, the road was also different. All of the sacbe roads found so far have a layer of stones on the outside. Ironically, though, the road to Ceren was made of ash.
Number 3: A Road of Graves
Archaeologists announced in 2022 that they had found a strange network of highways. About 4,500 years ago, the Bedouins traveled along roads that were lined with tombs. The tombs were made of stone and had structures that looked like pendants that pointed toward the nearest road. Other tombs stood like road signs along the path and pointed the way to the next water source. The tombs were also interesting because they told travelers how far away the next oasis was. The graves were closer together on roads that led to water. People could travel about 330 miles (530 kilometers) on these roads to the dead without getting thirsty.
Number 2: A road in the Bible that is still used today
The road has a tarmac surface that looks modern and can be used by cars, bikes, and people on foot. But in the past, it was an important link that connected several kingdoms, including Ancient Egypt, Arabia, the Red Sea, and the Fertile Crescent. Through Jordan’s highlands, the road has been used by pilgrims, merchant caravans, soldiers, kings, and others for thousands of years. Today, people can drive the 154-mile (250-kilometer) highway and visit a number of important historical sites that are connected by this amazing road.
Number 1: There was never a Silk Road.
Historians say that this road connected China to the rest of the world. The 4,000-mile (6,437-kilometer) network reached far and wide, almost like a vein, and allowed the Chinese to sell their best silk and other valuables. The truth is that China did not trade with other countries or export silk during this time. Even worse, they didn’t call it the Silk Road.
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