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Historic roads (historic
trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, path or footpath A footpath (also pedestrian way, walking trail, nature trail) is a type of thoroughfare that is intended for us ...

trail
s in USA and Canada) are paths or routes that have historical importance due to their use over a period of time. Examples exist from
prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, ...

prehistoric
times until the early 20th century. They include ancient trackways, long-lasting roads, important trade routes, and migration trails. Many historic routes, such as the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and Western culture, West, from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century CE. It was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions ...

Silk Road
, the
Amber Road The Amber Road was an ancient trade route for the transfer of amber Amber is fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the I ...

Amber Road
, and the
Royal Road The Royal Road was an ancient highway A highway is any public or private road A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two Location (geography), places that has been Pavement (material), paved or otherwise improved to a ...
of the
Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Grea ...
, covered great distances and their impact on human settlements remain today. The
Post Track The Post Track is an ancient causeway A causeway is a track, road or railway on the upper point of an embankment (earthworks), embankment across "a low, or wet place, or piece of water". It can be constructed of earth, masonry, wood, or co ...
, a prehistoric
causeway A causeway is a track, road or railway on the upper point of an embankment (earthworks), embankment across "a low, or wet place, or piece of water". It can be constructed of earth, masonry, wood, or concrete. One of the earliest known wooden c ...

causeway
in the valley of the
River Brue The River Brue originates in the parish of Brewham Brewham is a civil parish in Somerset, England, consisting of the villages of North Brewham and South Brewham, on either side of the river in the River Brue, Brue Valley east of Bruton and sou ...
in the
Somerset Levels The Somerset Levels are a coastal plain and wetland area of Somerset, England, running south from the Mendip Hills, Mendips to the Blackdown Hills. The Somerset Levels have an area of about and are bisected by the Polden Hills; the areas to ...
, England, is one of the oldest known constructed trackways and dates from around 3800 BCE. The world's oldest known paved road was constructed in Egypt some time between 2600 and 2200 BC. The
Romans Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...
were the most significant road builders of the ancient world. At the peak of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
there were more than of roads, of which over were stone-paved.Gabriel, Richard A. ''The Great Armies of Antiquity''. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2002
Page 9
Michael Grant, ''History of Rome'' (New York: Charles Scribner, 1978), 264. Another empire, that of the
Incas The Inca Empire, also known as Incan Empire and the Inka Empire, and at the time known as the Realm of the Four Parts,,  "four parts together" was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military c ...

Incas
of
pre-Columbian South America In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the Migration to the New World, original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic period through European colonization of the Americas, European colonization, ...
, also built an extensive and advanced transportation system. Much later historic roads include the
Red River Trails The Red River Trails were a network of Red River ox cart, ox cart routes connecting the Red River Colony (the "Selkirk Settlement") and Fort Garry in Canada under British Imperial control (1764-1867), British North America with the head of naviga ...
between Canada and the US, from the 19th century. Such pioneer trails often made use of ancient routes created by
indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), or autochthonous peoples, are culturally distinct e ...

indigenous people
.


Beginnings

It is claimed that some of the earliest roads were created by humans who followed already existing paths made by animals, and, in particular, that trails created by the herds of
buffalo
buffalo
shaped the routes taken first by
indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), or autochthonous peoples, are culturally distinct e ...

indigenous people
s and then colonists, especially in North America: :The buffalo, because of his sagacious selection of the most sure and most direct courses, has influenced the routes of trade and travel of the white race as much, possibly, as he influenced the course of the red-men in earlier days. There is great truth in Thomas Benton's figure when he said that the buffalo blazed the way for the railways to the Pacific. That sagacious animal undoubtedly “blazed”—with his hoofs on the surface of the earth—the course of many of our roads, canals, and railways. That he found the points of least resistance across our great mountain ranges there can be little doubt. It is certain that he discovered Cumberland Gap and his route through that pass in the mountains has been accepted as one of the most important on the continent. It is also obvious that the buffalo found the course from Atlantic waters to the head of the
Great Kanawha The Kanawha River ( ) is a tributary of the Ohio River, approximately 97 mi (156 km) long, in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The largest inland waterway in West Virginia, its valley has been a significant industrial region of the stat ...
, and that he opened a way from the
Potomac
Potomac
to the
Ohio Ohio () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Ohio
. How important these strategic points are now considered is evident from the fact that a railway crosses the mountains at each of them; the New York Central, the Baltimore and Ohio, the Pennsylvania, and the Chesapeake and Ohio cross the first great divide in the eastern portion of our country on routes selected centuries ago by the plunging buffalo. One of the most interesting of specific examples of a railway following an ancient highway of buffalo and Indian is to be found on the Baltimore and Ohio. However, Frank G. Roe disputes this theory – and its wider application – in "The 'Wild Animal Path' Origin of Ancient Roads". Some suggest that the
portage Portage or portaging (Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and ...

portage
routes of North American
indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), or autochthonous peoples, are culturally distinct e ...
followed "the game trails the animals had made around rough water. ...
nd
nd
as centuries passed, well-trodden paths were made, winding among the rocks, and, by the easiest of grades, over or around hills".


Asia


East Asia


China

The
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and Western culture, West, from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century CE. It was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions ...

Silk Road
was a major trade route between China and India, Europe, and Arabia. It derives its name from the lucrative trade in
silk Silk is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all o ...

silk
carried out along its length, beginning in the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
(207 BCE–220 CE). The Han dynasty expanded the
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north, including the former Soviet Union, Soviet republics of the Sov ...

Central Asia
n section of the trade routes around 114 BCE through the missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy
Zhang Qian Zhang Qian (; died c. 114) was a Chinese official and diplomat who served as an imperial envoy to the world outside of China in the late 2nd century BC during the Han dynasty. He was one of the first official diplomats to bring back valuable inf ...

Zhang Qian
. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the
Great Wall of China The Great Wall of China () is a series of fortifications A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typic ...

Great Wall of China
to ensure the protection of the trade route. Prior to the Silk Road an ancient overland route existed through the
Eurasian Steppe The Eurasian Steppe, also simply called the Great Steppe or the steppes, is the vast steppe ecoregion of Eurasia in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. It stretches through Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Europ ...
. Silk and horses were traded as key commodities; secondary trade included furs, weapons, musical instruments, precious stones (turquoise, lapis lazuli, agate, nephrite) and jewels. This route extended for approximately . Trans-Eurasian trade through the
Steppe Route The Steppe Route was an ancient overland route through the Eurasian Steppe The Eurasian Steppe, also simply called the Great Steppe or the steppes, is the vast steppe ecoregion of Eurasia in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands b ...
precedes the conventional date for the origins of the Silk Road by at least two millennia. See also the
Northern Silk RoadImage:Tarimrivermap.png, 300px, Taklimakan Desert The Northern Silk Road is an Ancient history, ancient trackway in northern China originating in the early capital of Xi'an and extending north of the Taklimakan Desert to reach the ancient monarchy, k ...
, the Southern Silk Road: Through Khotan,
Tea Horse Road The Tea Horse Road or ''chamadao'' (), now generally referred to as the Ancient Tea Horse Road or ''chamagudao'' () was a network of caravan paths winding through the mountains of Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet in Southwest China. This was also a tea t ...
. The
Shudao The Shudao (), or the Road(s) to Shu, is a system of mountain roads linking the Chinese province of Shaanxi with Sichuan (Shu), built and maintained since the 4th century BC. Technical highlights were the gallery roads, consisting of wooden planks ...

Shudao
(), or the "Road(s) to Shu", is a system of mountain roads linking the Chinese province of
Shaanxi Shaanxi (; , ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately Shensi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Officially part of Northwest China, it borders the province-level divisions of Shanxi (NE, ...

Shaanxi
with
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Sichuan
(Shu), built and maintained since the 4th century BC. Technical highlights were the
gallery road The archaeological gallery roads () were roads through remote mountain areas of China. They consisted of wooden planks erected on holes cut into the sides of cliffs. They were most notably used in the Qin Mountains linking the Wei River and the H ...
s, consisting of wooden planks erected on wooden or stone beams slotted into holes cut into the sides of cliffs. The roads join three adjacent basins separated and surrounded by high mountains. Like many ancient road systems, the Shu Roads formed a network of major and minor roads with different roads being used at different historical times. However, a number of roads are commonly identified as the main routes.


Japan

were roads in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
dating from the
Edo period The or is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a c ...
(between 1603 and 1868). They act important roles in transportation like the
Appian way The Appian Way (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of ...

Appian way
of ancient Roman roads. Major examples include the
Edo Five Routes The , sometimes translated as "Five Highways", were the five centrally administered routes, or ''kaidō'', that connected the ''de facto'' capital of Japan at Edo (now Tokyo) with the outer provinces during the Edo period (1603–1868). The most im ...
, all of which started at
Edo Edo ( ja, , , "bay-entrance" or "estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed Coast, coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone b ...

Edo
(modern-day
Tokyo Tokyo (Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Tōkyō'' ), historically known in the west as Tokio and officially the Tokyo Metropolis (, ''Tōkyō-to''), is capital of Japan, the capital and most populous Prefectures of Japan, prefecture of Japan ...

Tokyo
). Minor examples include sub-routes such as the Hokuriku Kaidō and the Nagasaki Kaidō. ''Kaidō'', however, do ''not'' include
San'yōdō 300px, San'yōdō is a Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat ...
,
San'indō is a Japanese geographical term. It means both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through it. ''San'in'' translates to "the shaded side of a mountain", while ''dō'', depending on the context, can mean either a road, o ...
,
Nankaidō 300px, Nankaidō. is a Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat ...
and
Saikaidō Saikaidō. is a Japanese geographical term. It means both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through it. Saikaido was one of the main Circuit (subnational entity), circuits of the Gokishichidō system, which was original ...

Saikaidō
, which were part of the even more ancient system of Yamato government called
Gokishichidō was the name for ancient administrative units organized in Japan during the Asuka period (AD 538–710), as part of a Ritsuryō, legal and governmental system borrowed from the Chinese. Though these units did not survive as administrative structu ...
. This was the name for ancient administrative units and the roads within these units, organized in Japan during the
Asuka period The was a period in the history of Japan The first human inhabitants of the Japanese archipelago The Japanese archipelago (Japanese: 日本列島, ''Nihon rettō'') is a group of 6,852 islands that form the country of Japan , ima ...
(AD 538–710), as part of a legal and governmental system borrowed from the Chinese. Many
highway A highway is any public or private road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadways (British English: ...

highway
s and
railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor veh ...

railway
lines in modern Japan follow the ancient routes and carry the same names. The early roads radiated from the capital at
Nara The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in different jur ...
or
Kyoto Kyoto (; Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Kyōto'' ), officially , is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture in Japan. Located in the Kansai region on the island of Honshu, Kyoto forms a part of the Keihanshin, Keihanshin metropolitan area along w ...
. Later, Edo was the reference, and even today Japan reckons directions and measures distances along its
highway A highway is any public or private road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadways (British English: ...

highway
s from
Nihonbashi is a business district of Chūō, Tokyo is a Special wards of Tokyo, special ward that forms part of the heart of Tokyo, Japan. The ward refers to itself in English as Chūō City. It was formed in 1947 as a merger of Kyōbashi, Tokyo, Kyo ...
in
Chūō, Tokyo is a Special wards of Tokyo, special ward that forms part of the heart of Tokyo, Japan. The ward refers to itself in English as Chūō City. It was formed in 1947 as a merger of Kyōbashi, Tokyo, Kyobashi and Nihonbashi wards following Tokyo Ci ...
.


South Asia


Indian subcontinent

The
Grand Trunk Road The Grand Trunk Road formerly known as ''Uttarapath'', ''Sarak-e-Azam'', ''Badshahi Sarak'', ''Sarak-e-Sher Shah'' is one of Asia's oldest and longest major roads. For at least 2,500 years, it has linked Central Asia Central Asia is a region ...

Grand Trunk Road
in
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia cov ...

South Asia
was the main road from modern day
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, বাংলাদেশ, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-c ...

Bangladesh
to northern
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
and
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
. A route since antiquity, it was constructed into a coherent highway by the
Maurya Empire The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human h ...
in 300 BC. Soon after, the Greek diplomat
Megasthenes Megasthenes ( ; grc, Μεγασθένης, c. 350BCE– c. 290 BCE) was an ancient Greek historian, diplomat and Indian ethnographer and explorer in the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history b ...
(c. 350 – c. 290 BC) wrote of his travels along the road to reach Hindu kingdoms in the 3rd century BC. After invading India over 1,500 years later,
Mughals The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of 's past. It is understood through , , , and , and since the , from and s. ...

Mughals
extended the Grand Trunk Road westwards from
Lahore Lahore (; pnb, ; ; ur, ; ) is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a geopolitical, cultural, and in , specifically in the northern part of the , comprising areas of east ...

Lahore
to
Kabul Kabul (; ps, , translit=Kābəl, ; prs, , translit=Kābol, ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capital ...

Kabul
(the capital of Afghanistan) crossing the
Khyber Pass The Khyber Pass (خیبر درہ) is a mountain pass A mountain pass is a navigable route through a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt i ...

Khyber Pass
. The road was later improved and extended from
Calcutta Kolkata ( or , ; also known as Calcutta , the official name until 2001) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger upperca ...

Calcutta
to
Peshawar Peshawar (; ps, پېښور ; hnd, ; ; ur, ) is the capital of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and its List of cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by population, largest city. It is the List of most populous cities in Pakistan, six ...

Peshawar
by the British rulers of
colonial India Colonial India was the part of the Indian subcontinent that was under the jurisdiction of European colonial powers during the Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Co ...
. For many centuries, the road has acted as a major trade route and facilitated travel and postal communication. The Grand Trunk Road remains under use for transportation in India. The
Khyber Pass The Khyber Pass (خیبر درہ) is a mountain pass A mountain pass is a navigable route through a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt i ...

Khyber Pass
was an all-season mountain pass connecting
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
to western
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
. Brick-paved streets appeared in India as early as 3000 BC.


Europe

Except for
Roman roads Roman roads ( la, viae Romanae ; singular: ; meaning "Roman way") were physical infrastructure vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 300 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Re ...
, European pathways were rarely in good shape and depended on the
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The first person t ...

geography
of the region. In the early
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, people often preferred to travel along elevated
drainage divide In topography, a drainage divide, water divide, divide, ridgeline, watershed, water parting or ''height of land'' is elevated terrain that separates neighboring drainage basins. On rugged land, the divide lies along topographical ridges, and may ...
s or ridgeways rather than in the valleys. This was due to thick forests and other natural obstacles in valleys. The
Amber Road The Amber Road was an ancient trade route for the transfer of amber Amber is fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the I ...

Amber Road
was an ancient
trade route A trade route is a Logistics, logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. The term can also be used to refer to trade over bodies of water. Allowing Good (economics and accountin ...
for the transfer of
amber Amber is fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communi ...

amber
from coastal areas of the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
and the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
to the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
. Prehistoric
trade route A trade route is a Logistics, logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. The term can also be used to refer to trade over bodies of water. Allowing Good (economics and accountin ...
s between Northern and Southern Europe were defined by the amber trade. As an important commodity, sometimes dubbed "the gold of the north", amber was transported overland by way of the
Vistula The Vistula (; pl, Wisła, , german: Weichsel) is the longest river in Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinc ...

Vistula
and
Dnieper } The Dnieper or Dnipro () is one of the major list of rivers of Europe, rivers of Europe, rising in the Valdai Hills near Smolensk, Russia, before flowing through Belarus and Ukraine to the Black Sea. It is the longest river of Ukraine and ...
rivers to the Mediterranean area from at least the 16th century BC. The breast ornament of the Egyptian pharaoh
Tutankhamen Tutankhamun (, egy, twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn ''Təwātə-ʿānəḫ-amānə'', ; Egyptological pronunciation The Egyptian language (Egyptian: ''r n km.t'', , Coptic: ) is an Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as A ...
(ca. 1333–1324 BC) contains large Baltic amber beads. The quantity of amber in the Royal Tomb of Qatna, Syria, is unparalleled for known second millennium BC sites in the Levant and the Ancient Near East. From the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
, trade could continue to Asia along the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and Western culture, West, from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century CE. It was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions ...

Silk Road
. '' Hærvejen'' (Danish, meaning "the army road") ran from
Viborg, Denmark Viborg (), a city in central Jutland, Denmark, is the capital of both Viborg municipality and Region Midtjylland. Viborg is also the seat of the Western High Court, the Courts of Denmark, High Court for the Jutland peninsula. Viborg Municipality ...
through
Flensburg Flensburg (; Danish language, Danish, Northern Low Saxon, Low Saxon: ''Flensborg''; North Frisian language, North Frisian: ''Flansborj''; South Jutlandic: ''Flensborre'') is an independent city, independent town (''kreisfreie Stadt'') in the nor ...

Flensburg
(in the present northern German state of
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein () is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany The Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , la ...

Schleswig-Holstein
) to
Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal_code_type = Post ...

Hamburg
. The road runs more or less along the
watershed Watershed is a hydrological term, which has been adopted in other fields in a more or less figurative sense. It may refer to: Hydrology * Drainage divide, the line that separates neighbouring drainage basins ** European watershed * Drainage basin, ...
of the
Jutland Jutland (; da, Jylland ; german: Jütland ; ang, Ēota land ), known anciently as the Cimbric or Cimbrian Peninsula ( la, Cimbricus Chersonesus; da, Den Kimbriske Halvø, Den Jyske Halvø; german: Kimbrische Halbinsel), is a peninsula of Nort ...

Jutland
Peninsula, known as the ''Jyske Højderyg'' (Jutland Ridge), similar to the ridgeways in England. By using this route rivers were avoided, or fords used, close to the rivers sources. Over time by this route was improved with paved fords, embankments and bridges. Concentrations of mounds, defensive ditches, settlements and other historic landmarks can be found along the road and sections of it can be traced back to 4000 BC.''Drunter oder drüber: Elbquerungen gestern und heute'' (Brochure on the exhibition in Staatsarchiv Hamburg between 30 October till 20 December 2002 on occasion of the opening of the ), Joachim W. Frank (ed.), Hamburg: Staatsarchiv Hamburg / Amt für Geoinformation und Vermessung, 2002, p. 8.


Roman Roads

Roman roads Roman roads ( la, viae Romanae ; singular: ; meaning "Roman way") were physical infrastructure vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 300 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Re ...
were physical infrastructure vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 300 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
and the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. They ranged from small local roads to broad, long-distance highways built to connect cities, major towns and military bases. These major roads were often stone-paved and metaled, cambered for drainage, and flanked by footpaths,
bridleways A bridle path, also bridleway, equestrian trail, horse riding path, ride, bridle road, or horse trail, is a path, trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, path or ...
and drainage ditches. They were laid along accurately surveyed courses, and some were cut through hills, or conducted over rivers and ravines on bridgework. Sections could be supported over marshy ground on rafted or piled foundations.Corbishley, Mike: "The Roman World", page 50. Warwick Press, 1986. At the peak of Rome's development, no fewer than 29 great military highways radiated from the capital, and the late Empire's 113 provinces were interconnected by 372 great roads.Bailey, L. H., and Wilhelm Miller. ''Cyclopedia of American Horticulture, Comprising Suggestions for Cultivation of Horticultural Plants, Descriptions of the Species of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers, and Ornamental Plants Sold in the United States and Canada, Together with Geographical and Biographical Sketches''. New York
tc. TC, T.C., Tc, Tc, tc, tC, or .tc may refer to: Arts and entertainment Film and television * Theodore "T.C." Calvin, a character on the TV series ''Magnum, P.I. ''Magnum, P.I.'' is an American crime drama Crime films, in the broadest sens ...
The Macmillan Co, 1900
Page 320
The whole comprised more than of roads, of which over were stone-paved. In
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rat ...

Gaul
alone, no less than of roadways are said to have been improved, and in Britain at least . The courses (and sometimes the surfaces) of many Roman roads survived for millennia; some are overlaid by modern roads.


Frankish Empire

Francia Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankish Kingdom, Frankland or Frankish Empire, was the largest History of the Roman Empire, post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Franks du ...

Francia
or the Frankish Empire was the largest post-Roman
Barbarian kingdom A barbarian is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a u ...
in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
. It was ruled by the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
during
Late Antiquity Late antiquity is a periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Inst ...
and the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
. It is the predecessor of the modern states of
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
. After the
Treaty of Verdun The Treaty of Verdun, signed on 10 August 843, was the first of the treaties that divided the Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were ...

Treaty of Verdun
in 843,
West Francia In medieval history In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe ...
became the predecessor of France, and
East Francia East Francia (Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...
became that of Germany. The
Old Salt Route The Old Salt Route was a medieval trade route in Northern Germany, one of the ancient network of Salt Road, salt roads which were used primarily for the transport of History of salt, salt and other staples. In Germany it was referred to as ''Alte ...
or of the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
was a
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
trade route in northern
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
that transported
salt Salt is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure fo ...

salt
from
Lüneburg Lüneburg (officially the ''Hanseatic City of Lüneburg'', German: ''Hansestadt Lüneburg'', , Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic German ...

Lüneburg
to
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...

Lübeck
. The is a ridgeway and an historical boundary path in the
Thuringian Forest The Thuringian Forest (''Thüringer Wald'' in German language, German), is a mountain range in the southern parts of the Germany, German state of Thuringia, running northwest to southeast. Skirting from its southerly source in foothills to a gorg ...
,
Thuringian Highland The Thuringian Highland, Thuringian Highlands or Thuringian-Vogtlandian Slate MountainsKohl, Horst; Marcinek, Joachim and Nitz, Bernhard (1986). ''Geography of the German Democratic Republic'', VEB Hermann Haack, Gotha, p. 7 ff. . (german: Thüring ...
and
Franconian Forest View to Döbraberg The Franconian Forest''Franconian Forest''
at www.britannica.com. Access ...
in Central Germany. It was a connecting road between small independent states in
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
. The route crosses the
Thuringia Forest The Thuringian Forest (''Thüringer Wald'' in German German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For cit ...
and the slate mountains of Thuringia and
Frankenwald View to Döbraberg The Franconian Forest''Franconian Forest''
at www.britannica.com. Access ...

Frankenwald
, stretching from at the river
Werra The Werra (), a river in central Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany b ...
(near
Eisenach Eisenach () is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares an origin ...
) to
Blankenstein Blankenstein is a village and a former municipality in the district Saale-Orla-Kreis, in Thuringia, Germany. Since 1 January 2019, it is part of the municipality Rosenthal am Rennsteig. References

Former municipalities in Thuringia Saal ...

Blankenstein
at the river
Saale The Saale (), also known as the Saxon Saale (german: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (german: Thüringische Saale), is a river in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin ...

Saale
. It is part of the
European long-distance paths The European long-distance paths (E-paths) are a network of long-distance footpaths that traverse Europe. While most List of long-distance footpaths, long-distance footpaths in Europe are located in just one country or region, each of these number ...

European long-distance paths
network. The (king's road) is a
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
road that ran from
Frankfurt am Main Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian A Hessian is an inhabitant of the German state of Hesse. Hessian may also refer to: Named from the toponym *Hessian (soldier), eighteenth-century German regiments in service with the Bri ...

Frankfurt am Main
to
Görlitz Görlitz (; Upper Lusatian dialect: ''Gerlz'', ''Gerltz'', and ''Gerltsch'', pl, Zgorzelec, szl, Gorlice, hsb, Zhorjelc, dsb, Zgórjelc, cz, Zhořelec) is a town in the Germany, German state of Saxony. Located in the region of Lusatia on ...

Görlitz
in south-west
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
. See also the . An important medieval German pilgrim route was the (because the most important town along the way is
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area ...

Toulouse
, France). This is one of the four medieval pilgrim routes described by Aimery Picaud in his 12th-century ''Pilgrim's Guide'', used by pilgrims from southern and eastern Europe on the
Way of St James The Camino de Santiago ( la, Peregrinatio Compostellana, "Pilgrimage of Compostela"; gl, O Camiño de Santiago), known in English as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' way The Pilgrims' Way (also Pilgrim's Way or Pilgrims Way) ...
to
Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in accordance with the S ...

Santiago de Compostela
. See also the Palatine Ways of St. James.


Germany

The
Wittemoor timber trackway The Wittemoor timber trackway is a log causeway or corduroy road A corduroy road or log road is a type of road or timber trackway Historic roads (historic trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the Un ...
is a log causeway or
corduroy road A corduroy road or log road is a type of road or timber trackway Historic roads (historic trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, path or footpath is the pr ...

corduroy road
across a bog at Neuenhuntdorf, part of the
Berne ,german: Berner(in),french: Bernois(e), it, Bernese , neighboring_municipalities = Bremgarten bei Bern Bremgarten bei Bern is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corpor ...
in the district of
Wesermarsch Wesermarsch is a ''Districts of Germany, Kreis'' (district) in the northwestern part of Lower Saxony, Germany. Neighboring are (from the east clockwise) the districts of Cuxhaven (district), Cuxhaven and Osterholz, the city of Bremen in the state ...
in
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
, Germany. Originating in the pre-Roman
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
, it is one of several such causeways which have been found in the North German Plain, particularly in the Weser-Ems region. It has been dated by
dendrochronology Dendrochronology (or tree-ring dating) is the scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessib ...
to 135 
BCE Common Era (CE) is one of the year notations used for the Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modification of the , reducing the average year from 365.2 ...

BCE
. It ran across the Wittemoor bog, connecting the more elevated
geest Geest is a type of landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning t ...
at Hude with the River
Hunte Hunte is a long river in north-western Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Ger ...
. An Iron Age settlement near a spring in the Lintel section of Hude was at the southern end. A section of the trackway has been reconstructed. Built somewhat later, the
Wittmoor Bog Trackway The Wittmoor bog trackway is the name given to each of two historic corduroy road A corduroy road or log road is a type of road or timber trackway Historic roads (historic trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane o ...
s are two historic trackways discovered in Wittmoor in northern
Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal_code_type = Post ...

Hamburg
. The trackways date to the 4th and 7th century AD, both linked the eastern and western shores of the formerly inaccessible, swampy bog. A part of the older trackway No. II dating to the period of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
is on display at the permanent exhibition of the Archaeological Museum Hamburg in
Harburg, Hamburg Harburg is a Boroughs and quarters of Hamburg#Boroughs, borough of the city of Hamburg, Germany. It is also the name of Harburg (quarter), Harburg quarter in the borough, which used to be the capital of the Harburg (district), Harburg district in L ...
.
Hellweg In the Middle Ages, Hellweg was the official and common name given to main travelling routes in Germany. Their breadth was decreed as an unimpeded passageway a lance's width, about three metres, which the landholders through which the Hellweg pas ...

Hellweg
was the official and common name given to main travelling routes
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
trade route through Germany. Their breadth was decreed as an unimpeded passageway a
lance A lance is a pole weapon A pole weapon or pole arm is a close combat weapon in which the main fighting part of the weapon is fitted to the end of a long shaft, typically of wood, thereby extending the user's effective range and striking pow ...

lance
's width, about three metres, which the landholders through which the Hellweg passed were required to maintain. The
Kulmer Steig The Kulmer Steig is a synonym for the transport links from the Elbe, Elbe valley over the eastern part of the Eastern Ore Mountains to Bohemian Chlumec u Chabařovic (German: ''Kulm''), hence the name which means "Kulm Trail". It is an ancient roa ...

Kulmer Steig
is a byword for transport links from the Elbe valley over the eastern part of the Eastern Ore Mountains to Bohemian (german: Kulm). Archaeological finds suggest that this route existed in the
Bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...
() and the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
(750 BC – early AD) and even in the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
(
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology ...

Stone Age
)


Great Britain


England

The
Post Track The Post Track is an ancient causeway A causeway is a track, road or railway on the upper point of an embankment (earthworks), embankment across "a low, or wet place, or piece of water". It can be constructed of earth, masonry, wood, or co ...
and
Sweet Track The Sweet Track is an ancient trackway, or causeway, in the Somerset Levels, England, named after its finder, Ray Sweet. It was built in 3807 BC (determined using dendrochronology) and is the second-oldest timber trackway discovered in the ...
,
causeways A causeway is a track, road or railway on the upper point of an embankment across "a low, or wet place, or piece of water". It can be constructed of earth, masonry Masonry is the building of structures from individual units, which are ofte ...
or timber trackways, in the
Somerset levels The Somerset Levels are a coastal plain and wetland area of Somerset, England, running south from the Mendip Hills, Mendips to the Blackdown Hills. The Somerset Levels have an area of about and are bisected by the Polden Hills; the areas to ...
, near
Glastonbury Glastonbury (, ) is a town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of Parish (administrative division), administrative parish used for Local government in England, local government. It is a territorial designation which is the ...

Glastonbury
, are believed to be the oldest known purpose built roads in the world and have been dated to the
3800s BC The 39th century BC was a century which lasted from the year 3900 BC to 3801 BC. Events * The Post Track, an ancient causeway in the Somerset Levels, England, is built, c. 3838 BC. It is one of the oldest engineered roads discovered in Northern ...
. The tracks were walkways consisting mainly of planks of
oak An oak is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including on ...

oak
laid end-to-end, supported by crossed pegs of
ash Ash or ashes are the solid remnants of fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction Product (chemistry), products. Fire is hot because th ...
, oak, and
lime Lime refers to: * Lime (fruit) A lime (from French ''lime'', from Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East ...
, driven into the underlying peat. and were used to link the
fen A fen is a type of peat-accumulating wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem is a community (ecology), community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a sy ...

fen
islands across the
marshes A marsh is a wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes prevailin ...
. The Lindholme Trackway is later and dates to around 2900–2500 BC. It fits within a trend of narrowing width and increased sophistication during the third millennium BC. Some argue that this shift could relate to the growing complexity of
wheel File:Roue primitive.png, An early wheel made of a solid piece of wood A wheel is a circular component that is intended to rotate on an axle An axle or axletree is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the ...

wheel
ed transport at the time. Tracks provided links between farmsteads and fields, other farmsteads, and neighbouring
long barrow Long barrows are a style of monument constructed across Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of D ...
tombs. They also joined the separate localities to the camp meeting places and cross-country flint roads. Others were more likely to have been processional ways, such as the one leading to the gigantic temple at
Avebury Avebury () is a Neolithic British Isles, Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury (village), Avebury in Wiltshire, in southwest England. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, it conta ...

Avebury
in Wiltshire. On British hills, the line of tracks often run a little below the actual crest of a ridge, possibly to afford some shelter from the wind or to avoid travellers presenting themselves to marauders as a target on the skyline. Examples include the
Harrow Way The Harrow Way (also spelled as "Harroway") is another name for the "Old Way", an ancient trackway Historic roads (historic trails in USA and Canada) are paths or routes that have historical importance due to their use over a period of ti ...
and the
Pilgrims' Way The Pilgrims' Way (also Pilgrim's Way or Pilgrims Way) is the historical route supposedly taken by pilgrim A pilgrim (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European langu ...
, running along the
North Downs The North Downs are a ridge of chalk Chalk is a soft, white, porous Porosity or void fraction is a measure of the (i.e. "empty") spaces in a , and is a of voids over the total volume, between 0 and 1, or as a between 0% and 100%. Stric ...
in southern England. The
Harrow Way The Harrow Way (also spelled as "Harroway") is another name for the "Old Way", an ancient trackway Historic roads (historic trails in USA and Canada) are paths or routes that have historical importance due to their use over a period of ti ...
(also spelled as "Harroway") is another name for the "Old Way", an ancient trackway in the south of England, dated by archaeological finds to 600–450 BC, but probably in existence since the
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology ...

Stone Age
. The "Old Way" ran from Seaton in
Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Ch ...

Devon
to
Dover Dover () is a town and major ferry port in Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first publishe ...

Dover
,
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
. Later the eastern part of the Harrow Way become known as the
Pilgrims Way The Pilgrims' Way (also Pilgrim's Way or Pilgrims Way) is the historical route supposedly taken by pilgrim A pilgrim (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European langu ...
, following the canonisation of
Thomas Becket Thomas Becket (), also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London and later Thomas à Becket (21 December 1119 or 1120 – 29 December 1170), was Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bish ...

Thomas Becket
t and the establishment of a shrine in
Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour, Kent, River Stour ...

Canterbury
,
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
. This
pilgrimage A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, aft ...
route ran from
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London ...

Winchester
,
Hampshire Hampshire (, ; abbreviated to Hants) is a Counties of England, county in South East England on the coast of the English Channel. The county town is Winchester, but the county is named after Southampton. Its two largest cities are Southampton a ...

Hampshire
, via
Farnham Farnham is a market town A market town is a European that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the , a market right, which allowed it to host a regular ; this distinguished it from a or . In Britain, small rural towns with a hinte ...

Farnham
,
Surrey Surrey () is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and R ...

Surrey
, to
Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour, Kent, River Stour ...

Canterbury
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
. The western section of the Harrow Way ends in Farnham, the eastern in Dover.
The Ridgeway The ancient tree-lined path winds over the downs countryside The Ridgeway is a ridgeway or ancient trackway Historic roads (historic trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom and the ...
similarly keeps to high ground and for at least 5,000 years travellers have used it. The Ridgeway provided a reliable trading route running along
chalk hills The Chalk Hills are a north–south-running low 'mountain' range in the San Fernando Valley perpendicular to and adjoining the Santa Monica Mountains. They are located in the Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, Woodland Hills District of the Los Angele ...
from the
Dorset Dorset (; archaically In language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system compose ...

Dorset
coast to
the Wash The Wash is a rectangular bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which cove ...

the Wash
in
Norfolk Norfolk () is a rural and non-metropolitan county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambe ...

Norfolk
. The high dry ground made travel easy and provided a measure of protection by giving traders a commanding view, warning against potential attacks. The
Icknield Way The Icknield Way is an ancient trackway Historic roads (historic trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, path or footpath is the preferred term for a walk ...
follows the
chalk Chalk is a soft, white, porous Porosity or void fraction is a measure of the (i.e. "empty") spaces in a , and is a of voids over the total volume, between 0 and 1, or as a between 0% and 100%. Strictly speaking, some tests measure the "acce ...

chalk
escarpment that includes the Berkshire Downs and Chiltern Hills, in southern and eastern England, from
Norfolk Norfolk () is a rural and non-metropolitan county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambe ...

Norfolk
to Wiltshire. Other examples of historic roads in England include the Long Causeway, a Middle Ages, Medieval packhorse route that ran from Sheffield to Hathersage and The Mariners' Way in Devon. The latter was created by sailors in the eighteenth century, or earlier, travelling between the ports of Bideford and Dartmouth, Devon, who linked existing lanes, tracks and footpaths to form a direct route.


Scotland

In Aberdeenshire, Scotland, ancient tracks include the Causey Mounth, an ancient drovers' road over the coastal fringe of the Grampian Mountains and Elsick Mounth, which was one of the few means of traversing the Grampian Mounth area in
prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, ...

prehistoric
and
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
times. Roman legions marched along the Elsick Mounth.C. Michael Hogan, ''Elsick Mounth'', Megalithic Portal, ed A. Burnham
/ref>


Roman Britain

In Roman Britain, many trackways were built upon by the Romans to form the foundations for Roman roads in Britannia, their roads. Prior to this, people used trackways to travel between settlements but this was unsuitable for the swift movement of troops and equipment. Mastiles Lane was a Roman marching road and later an important route for monks leading sheep from Fountains Abbey to summer pasture on higher ground. Also known as the Old Monks' Road, this is now a Yorkshire Dales, Dales walking track.


Ley lines

The existence of ley lines and their relationship with ancient trackways was first suggested in 1921 by the amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins, in his books ''Early British Trackways'' and ''The Old Straight Track''. Watkins theorized that these alignments were created for ease of overland trekking on ancient trackways during neolithic times and had persisted in the landscape over millennia.


Greece

Improvements in metallurgy meant that by 2000 BC stone-cutting tools were generally available in the Middle East and Greece allowing local streets to be paved. Notably, in about 2000 BC, the Minoan civilization, Minoans built a paved road from Knossos in north Crete through the mountains to Gortyn and Lebena, a port on the south coast of the island, which had side drains, a thick pavement of sandstone blocks bound with clay-gypsum Mortar (masonry), mortar, covered by a layer of basaltic flagstones and had separate Shoulder (road), shoulders. This road could be considered superior to any Roman road. The Via Pythia (or Pythian road) was the route to Delphi. It was revered throughout the Ancient Greek world as the site of the Omphalos stone (the centre of the earth and universe). The Sacred Way ( grc, Ἱερὰ Ὁδός, ), in ancient Greece, was the road from Athens to Eleusis. It was so called because it was the route taken by a procession celebrating the Eleusinian Mysteries. The procession to Eleusis began at the Sacred Gate in the Kerameikos (the Athenian cemetery) on the 19th Attic calendar, Boedromion. In the present day, the road from central Athens to Aegaleo and Chaidari (the old route to Eleusis) is called after the ancient road.


Ireland

The Corlea Trackway is an ancient road built on a bog consisting of packed hazel, birch and alder planks placed lengthways across the track, and occasional cross timbers for support. Other bog trackways or "toghers" have also been discovered dating to around 4000 BC. The Corlea trackway dates from approx 148 BC and was excavated in 1994. It is the largest trackway of its kind to be uncovered in Europe. Ireland's prehistoric roads were minimally developed, but oak-plank pathways covered many bog areas, and five great 'ways' ( ga, slighe) converged at the Hill of Tara. An ancient avenue or trackway in Ireland is located at Rathcroghan Mound and the surrounding earthworks within a 370m circular enclosure. The Esker Riada, a series of glacial eskers formed at the end of the last glacial period, last Ice Age, formed an elevated pathway from east to west, connecting Galway to Dublin.


Russia

The Siberian Route (russian: Сибирский тракт, ), also known as the "Moscow Highway" and "Great Highway" , was a historic route that connected European Russia to Siberia and China. The construction of the road was decreed by the Tsar two months after the conclusion of the Treaty of Nerchinsk, on 22 November 1689, but it did not start until 1730 and was not finished until the mid-19th century. Previously, Siberian transport had been mostly by river via Siberian River Routes. First Russian settlers arrived in Siberia by the Cherdyn Route, Cherdyn river route which was superseded by the Babinov Road, Babinov overland route in the late 1590s. The town of Verkhoturye in the Urals was the most eastern point of the Babinov Road. The much longer Siberian route started in Moscow as the Vladimir Highway (a medieval road) and passed through Murom, Kozmodemyansk, Kazan, Perm, Russia, Perm, Kungur, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Tobolsk, Tara, Russia, Tara, Kainsk, Tomsk, Yeniseysk and Irkutsk. After crossing Lake Baikal the road split near Verkhneudinsk. One branch continued east to Nerchinsk while the other went south to the border post of Kyakhta where it linked to camel caravans that crossed Mongolia to a Great Wall of China, Great Wall gate at Zhangjiakou, Kalgan. In the early 19th century, the route was moved to the south. From Tyumen the road proceeded through Yalutorovsk, Ishim, Tyumen Oblast, Ishim, Omsk, Tomsk, Achinsk and Krasnoyarsk before rejoining the older route at Irkutsk. It remained a vital artery connecting Siberia with Moscow and Europe until the last decades of the 19th century, when it was superseded by the Trans-Siberian Railway (built 1891–1916), and the Amur Cart Road (built 1898–1909). The contemporary equivalent is the Trans-Siberian Highway.


Middle East

Streets paved with cobblestones appeared in the city of Ur in the Middle East dating back to 4000 BC. The
Royal Road The Royal Road was an ancient highway A highway is any public or private road A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two Location (geography), places that has been Pavement (material), paved or otherwise improved to a ...
was an ancient highway reorganized and rebuilt by the Persian Empire, Persian king Darius the Great (Darius I) of the first (Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid) Persian Empire in the 5th century BCE. Darius built the road to facilitate rapid communication throughout his very large empire from Susa, Syria to Sardis, Turkey. In the Hebrew Bible, suggests that roads were built to facilitate ease of access to the three regional Cities of Refuge in Ancient Israel, Israel. Deuteronomy has been dated to the seventh century BC. Some translations (e.g. the King James Version) have this: "Thou shalt prepare thee a way", while some more modern interpretations are more explicit: "You shall prepare and maintain for yourself the roads [to these cities]".


South America

The Inca road system was the most extensive and advanced transportation system in pre-Columbian South America. It was about long. The construction of the roads required a large expenditure of time and effort. The network was based on two north–south roads with numerous branches. The best known portion of the road system is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Part of the road network was built by cultures that precede the Inca Empire, notably the Wari culture. During the Spanish colonial era, parts of the road system were given the status of . In 2014 the road system became a World Heritage Site, UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Peru part of the Inca road system crossed the Andes to connect areas of the Inca Empire.


North America


United States

A complex system of prehistoric trails are located at Tumamoc Hill near Tucson, Arizona where archaeological traces have been found including petroglyphs, pottery shards and mortar holes. Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico consists of fifteen major complexes and a system of trails. Timber beams used to construct the cliff dwellings were hauled long distances to the site along the trails. The sixty-mile long ancient Great Hopewell Road of the Adena culture, Adena, Hopewell culture, Hopewell and Fort Ancient cultures of Ohio connected the Newark Earthworks to the mound group at Chillicothe.The Natchez Trace is a historic forest trail within the United States which extends roughly from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, linking the Cumberland River, Cumberland, Tennessee River, Tennessee, and Mississippi River, Mississippi Rivers. The trail was created and used by Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans for centuries, and was later used by early European and American explorers, traders, and emigrants in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Today, the path is commemorated by the Natchez Trace Parkway, which follows the approximate path of the Trace, as well as the related Natchez Trace Trail. Parts of the original trail are still accessible and some Old Natchez Trace segments listed on the National Register of Historic Places, segments are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the American Old West, the Oregon Trail was a 19th-century American pioneer, pioneer route from Illinois to Oregon, much of which was also used by the Mormon Trail and California Trail. The Santa Fe Trail was a major commercial and military artery from Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico. In modern times, the Lincoln Highway (dedicated 1913) was the first road for the automobile across the United States of America, spanning 3389 miles coast-to-coast from New York City to San Francisco. The Mojave Road (also known as Mohave Trail) was a historical footpath and pack trail used by pre-contact desert-dwelling
indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), or autochthonous peoples, are culturally distinct e ...

indigenous people
that was later followed by Spanish missionaries, explorers, colonizers and settlers. Its course ran across the Mojave Desert between watering holes approximately 60 miles apart.


Corduroy road

Corduroy roads are made by placing logs, perpendicular to the direction of the road over a low or swampy area, and were used extensively in the American Civil War, between Shiloh and Corinth after the battle of Shiloh, and in William Tecumseh Sherman#Final campaigns in the Carolinas, Sherman's march through the Carolinas


Plank road

A plank road is a road composed of Plank (wood), wooden planks or puncheon logs, which were commonly found in the Canadian province of Ontario as well as the Northeastern United States, Northeast and Midwestern United States, Midwest of the United States in the first half of the 19th century. They were often built by toll road, turnpike companies. The Plank Road Boom was an economic boom that happened in the United States. Largely in the Eastern United States and New York (state), New York, the boom lasted from 1844 to the mid 1850s. In about 10 years, over 3,500 miles of plank road were built in New York aloneenough road to go from Manhattan to California, and more than 10,000 miles of plank road were built countrywide.


Canada

In Canada, the Carlton Trail was a fur trade route from south-west Manitoba to Fort Edmonton in Alberta. The
Red River Trails The Red River Trails were a network of Red River ox cart, ox cart routes connecting the Red River Colony (the "Selkirk Settlement") and Fort Garry in Canada under British Imperial control (1764-1867), British North America with the head of naviga ...
were a network of ox cart routes connecting the Red River Colony (the Selkirk Settlement) and Fort Garry in British North America with the head of navigation on the Mississippi River in the United States. These trade routes ran from the location of present-day Winnipeg in the Canadian province of Manitoba across the Canada–United States border, and thence by a variety of routes through what is now the eastern part of North Dakota and western and central Minnesota to Mendota, Minnesota, Mendota and Saint Paul, Minnesota on the Mississippi. Travellers began to use the trails by the 1820s, with the heaviest use from the 1840s to the early 1870s, when they were superseded by railways. Until then, these cartways provided the most efficient means of transportation between the isolated Red River Colony and the outside world. They gave the Selkirk colonists and their neighbours, the Métis people, an outlet for their furs and a source of supplies other than the Hudson's Bay Company, which was unable to enforce its monopoly in the face of the competition that used the trails.


See also


References

; Bibliography * Ramsay, William Mitchell
The Historical Geography of Asia Minor
London: John Murray, 1890. * Abbott, Katharine M
Old Paths and Legends of New England; Saunterings Over Historic Roads, with Glimpses of Picturesque Fields and Old Homesteads in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire
New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1903. * Hulbert, Archer Butler
Pioneer Roads and Experiences of Travelers
Historic highways of America, v. 11–12. Cleveland, Ohio: A.H. Clark, 1904. * McKinley, Albert E., and William G. Kimmel. The Social Studies. Philadelphia: McKinley Pub. Co, 1909.
Historical Problems of the Near East, The Trade Routes of Western Asia
by W. L. Westermann. ; Footnotes


External links


Analysis of local roads near Chobham Common
* Historic England: Pre-industrial Roads, Trackways and Canal


Neolithic wooden trackways and bog hydrology




* [https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812104141.htm London's Earliest Timber Structure Found During Belmarsh Prison Dig]
Turnpikes and Toll Roads in Nineteenth-Century America
{{DEFAULTSORT:Historic Roads Ancient roads and tracks Footpaths Historical roads, Lists of roads Medieval roads and tracks Road transport Trails