A section of the ancient Incense Route, stretching seven kilometers and marked with weather-beaten Roman-era milestones, has been discovered in the barren heart of Israel’s Negev desert.Some past PaleoJudaica posts on the Nabatean incense route are here, here, here, and here.
The path of the trading route has been known all along, mainly from remnants rather than well-preserved tracks and signage. The exception was the section in the Negev – it was assumed that it had been destroyed by modern development. It turns out this was not the case. Surveyors now realize they had been looking for it in the wrong place.
The overland Incense Route was plied by the Nabateans, who were initially disorganized nomadic tribes roaming northern Arabia and the southern Levant and later became a slightly more organized kingdom, which never had clear boundaries.
From around the 3rd century B.C.E. to the 2nd century C.E., Nabatean traders, often on camels, transported incense from Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea coast, and returned with other merchandise.
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