Let’s face it, we have been making roads since the dawn of time, criss-crossing the globe on an endless journey as human beings. Are any of the oldest thoroughfares still around today? The answer is yes, there are a number of roadways that have existed for thousands upon thousands of years. For those of you interested in traveling down ancient well-worn paths, here are some of the oldest roads in existence:
One of the most famous and ancient roads in the entire world, a route that spans across Asia and connects the centre of the Roman Empire, Rome, with the capital of the Han Dynasty at Chang’An in China. This passageway was first used around 200 BC and was an essential trade route for hundreds of years.
The Road to Giza
When it comes to travel destinations, the Road to Giza is not really off the beaten path because this path has been beaten for more than 4,600 years. It is the oldest known paved road in the world and it covers a distance of 7.5 miles from the Southwest of Cairo to the quay located at Lake Moeris, which connects to the Nile. During its thousands of years of existence, the road was at one time used to transport enormous blocks of stone to Giza.
Even older than the Road to Giza. This thoroughfare is the oldest type of prepared road, made within the rich peat bogs of the damp and verdant Britain . The road is actually a track way made of timber planks which was used to cross the vast wetlands. It was discovered 14 feet below a peat bog near London back in 2009.
The reason why these trackways are still around 6,000 years later is because the marsh has preserved and petrified the wood. This makes Plumstead the oldest road in the world that has been discovered so far.
This is another similar track way constructed from wooden planks in order to cross the marshlands. It is located near Glastonbury, England and is thought to have been built during the spring of 3806 BC. It is possible to date this road so accurately thanks to the rings on the tree trunks. The planks on this ancient road were raised from the marsh using a set of crossed poles, which kept it from sinking.
The Inca Road
The Inca civilization was incredibly advanced, perhaps bested only by the Romans. They were able to build an enormous network of roads that stretched for 40,000 kilometers that connected Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina. These roads had to make it through marshes, wetlands, tunnels and mountains. Inca builders constructed hundreds of bridges, causeways and switchbacks across the rough terrain. Archaeologists have even discovered the remains of ancient rest houses along the way where weary travelers could stop for the night.
These are just a few of the oldest ancient roads in existence throughout the world. These paths have been used by countless travelers to visit new lands and transport their precious goods. As naturally curious beings our wanderlust never seems to cease, so we will always be forging new roads into the future.
Calvin Ford is a freelance writer and blogger who has always been fascinated by the history of travel. From the fresh white lining of a brand new road to an ancient dusty track, all roads call to his sense of passage.
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