Within the last ten years, substantial research has taken place by members of the Deutsche Evangelische Institut für Altertumswissenschaft under the direction of A. Strobel at ancient Callirrhoe, virtually southeast of Qumran but on the eastern shore, which was long maintained as a harbor; Callirrhoe was the logical port for transhipment of goods to and from Qumran. An ancient road from Callirrhoe to the Wadi Zerqa Ma’in was bordered by watchtowers. Callirrhoe itself was rebuilt by Herod as a luxurious resort place with villas, thermal springs and a harbor. The latter must have handled passengers as well as goods, as this was the easiest route from Jericho and Jerusalem to Machaerus. Roman roads linked Callirrhoe, Zerqa Ma’in and the eastern overland route, the Kings Highway and the Derekh Hamelach.
Other Dead Sea harbors appear to have been at Minet el Mazra on the north of the Lissan peninsula, at Ein Gedi, Ma’aganit Hamelah and Kallia. Survey results in the southern Ghor show that there was a well-developed road network with Roman customs posts that testifies to a heavy overland trade along the full length of the eastern side of the Wadi Araba, linking up with the network from Callirrhoe. (We are indebted to an unpublished article of a member of the research team for this information.)