Hananya Hizmi

“He also built a village, and called it Archelais,” wrote Josephus about the eponymous settlement in the Judean desert constructed by Herod’s son and heir Archelaus at the turn of the era. It is a seemingly inhospitable place to build a royal town, but it was amply supplied with water via aqueducts and springs and was one of the few places available to Archelaus to erect his legacy. He made the most of it, building a massive mansion for himself. Several sources helped archaeologists identify the site as Archelais, such as the Tabula Peutingeriana, a fourth-century C.E. itinerarium of the Cursus Publicus, or map of the Roman road. The fourth-century map is no longer extant; the photo at left is of a 19th-century representation. The map shows the cities and towns of the Roman Empire from Spain to Asia and the distance between them. “[A]rcelais” is highlighted in red on the map, just north of “Herichonte” (Jericho).