During May–June 2011, a trial excavation was conducted on the western and eastern margins of the main Golani Junction–Road 65 (Permit No. A-6169; map ref. 238405/742895), to expose any extant remains of the ancient Roman road from Ptolemais-‘Akko to Tiberias that was cut by the modern road at this juncture. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Alexandre (field photography), with the assistance of I. Basharaat (area supervision), I. Hasan (administration), R. Mishayev, M. Kahan and R. Liran (surveying and drafting) and A. Shapiro (GPS).
Three squares (75 sq m) were excavated on the western margins of the modern road. Following the backhoe removal of some basalt stone piles that must have accumulated from earlier infrastructures and road works, a layer of stones was exposed immediately below the surface (L201, L203, L205). These stones were almost all natural un-worked basalt stones of various dimensions, and a few were limestone blocks (Figs. 1, 2). This stone layer was extremely damaged, with many gaps of accumulated earth between the stones. It may have been 8 m wide, as on both the northern and southern edges there were far fewer stones, but this could not be further clarified due to the excavation limits. A section was cut in the stone layer, exposing a few large boulders that may once have been part of the road’s margins, and some patches of a basalt stone chip layer (Fig. 1: Section 1-1). The finds were extremely limited, consisting of small worn body sherds from the Roman period.
On the eastern margins of the modern road, a strip (length 20 m, width 5 m) was examined with a backhoe in search of the Roman road’s remains. Further manual excavation of this strip exposed only the uneven volcanic basalt bedrock layer (L213–L216) with only a few intervening basalt stones (Figs. 3, 4). It seems that almost all traces of the Roman road had been removed by previous works. The few sporadic potsherds dated to the Roman period.
At a short distance of c. 45 m to the east of the excavated strip, the Roman road (width c. 10 m), densely paved with basalt flagstones and bordered on each side with large basalt stones, is clearly visible on the surface. The road must have sloped down slightly from east to west as it entered the Bet Rimon or Tur‘an valleys, although it probably veered slightly more to the northern edge of the valley, to retain as constant an elevation as possible. However, this point could not be clarified as almost all traces of the Roman road were removed in our excavation strip.
An additional excavation square on the eastern margins of the road, c. 15 m further north, produced no finds, although a few early potsherds were discovered in the initial probe trenches.