The Roman Road

29 Mar

This road was built by the Romans more than 2000 years ago. The Romans came during the Second Punic War in 218 BC between Carthage and Rome. As they did in all of the regions they occupied the Romans developed roads and trade. You can still see the worn limestone road surface, the run off channel lined with stone to gather the water shed from the road surface, and the stone curbs remaining on either side of the road. All designed by the Romans.

Freestanding dry-stack rock walls line the road protecting it from the elements and offering protection for travelers.

The road leads us to a set of chambers hollowed out of the limestone. The chambers are open holes that descend into ovoid shaped chambers. The chambers were used in the Bronze Age to bury the dead. The body was placed upright in a fetal position surrounded by pottery with offerings to sustain the person on their travel to the next world.

Some of these chambers were used for grain storage.  These have a larger opening at the surface to allow for loading and unloading the harvest. There is a circular opening cut into the lip of the open hole to allow a bucket to be lowered and raised to move the grain into the storage chamber and lift it out as needed for sustenance.

Cave dwellings were hollowed out of the limestone and earth.

In this particular dwelling people lived until the late 1930s. It served as a local bomb shelter in WWII. There are three rooms in the dwelling, one main chamber, one for children and one for animals. The shaping of the lintel over the entry is telling. The stone has been shaped to funnel water so it will not drip on the entrants head, a clever solution to a very human need. The caves are cool in the summer, warm in the winter and only lack sufficient light.

Free standing stone walls dot the landscape marking field boundaries and areas devoted to particular activities. Small circular stone structures are farm dwellings with easy access to adjoining fields.

In a later rectangular version of a stone farmhouse is a bench built into the wall by the front door facing the sunrise.

We came upon this 1000 year old Carob tree at the road side. Its branches sprouted new leaves in the soft sunlight.


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