Israel discovers 1,780-year-old milestone with Roman emperor’s name

Israeli researchers discovered an ancient milestone with the name of the Roman emperor Maximinus Thrax, who ruled between 235-238 CE, the northern University of Haifa reported on Tuesday.

The engraved stone was discovered on a road between the ancient Roman cities of Hippos and Caesarea Philippi, north of the Sea of Galilee in northeastern Israel.

Such basalt stones, called “milliarium” in Latin, were cylindrical shaped and marked the ancient Roman roads.

The milestones were set at fixed distances of 1 Roman mile (1,481 meters) from the city and along the road.

The stones were used not only to indicate the distances and to instill a sense of security, but mainly for propaganda purposes of the Roman rule.

According to the researchers, the road was built many years before the reign of Maximinus, and its name on the stone is probably indicative of extensive renovations carried out at the time.

At that period the Roman Empire was in decline process, so construction work of this kind was rare.

In addition to the name of the emperor, a list of his titles and his son’s name Maximus appears on the stone.

The researchers also uncovered a small fortress nearby, with remnants of a colorful mosaic floor, a cellar and remains of ancient agriculture. In one of the rooms a huge 1.80-meter-diameter oven was discovered.