A new study of trash heaps at rest stops along the ancient Incense Route in the Negev Desert shows it was a two-way street for trade. Contrary to previously held theories, the intrepid camel merchants carried goods both to and from the region in what the researchers call “a process of pre-modern globalization.”
“We were trained to think that the road functioned mainly in a one-way direction. We found that a significant amount of the finds were also carried by traders that carried loads of organic material from the fertile land,” University of Haifa Prof. Guy Bar-Oz told The Times of Israel.
“The most surprising finds were materials that originated from the west, i.e., the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile,” he said. It had hitherto been understood that trade had run from the Arabian Peninsula, i.e., east to west.
In the recently released study, “Caravanserai middens on desert roads: a
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