Associates for Biblical Research/David Livingston

Roman milestone. According to the 4th-century A.D. treatise, the Onomasticon, Bethel was located at the 12th Roman milestone on the road north from Jerusalem. Using his travel time on horseback as a rough measure, the 19th-century Biblical topographer Edward Robinson concluded that the modern Arab village of Beitin—12.5 miles north of Jerusalem—matched Eusebius’s description of Bethel. Modern measurements of the same route show that Beitin is actually 14 Roman miles north of a point near the center of 4th-century A.D. Jerusalem.

Bimson and Livingston suggest that modern Bireh, almost two miles south of Beitin, near the 12th Roman milestone, may be the site of Biblical Bethel. Bireh is only about one mile northwest of Khirbet Nisya, the proposed site of Ai. The closeness of Bireh to Nisya is consistent with the Biblical descriptions of the proximity of these sites.

This third-century milestone bearing Latin and Greek inscriptions originally marked the eighth mile on the Roman road between Beth-Guvrin and Ashkelon; it resembles others found along the Roman road near Bireh.