A great read for those interested in the ongoing digs overseas. The argument that Pontius Pilate is a good candidate for the builder of this ancient road would give some interesting context for the Jews having brought Jesus before him.
It appears that Pilate strived for stability, as indicated by retaining the services of a single high priest throughout his reign. In comparison, Valerius Gratus who was succeeded by Pilate as prefect of Judea, changed high priest four times during his reign (Josephus , Ant. 18.33 – 35). While Pilate tested the boundaries of Jewish belief, he also knew when to withdraw and compromise, as noted in his removal of the shields that had been brought into Jerusalem (Josephus, Ant . 18.55–59; Bond 2004: 20–21). Perhaps Pilate’s dominance can be seen in light of the fact that up until the year 32 CE, the Syrian governor, to whom Pilate was technically subordinate, was stationed in Rome. This may have left Pilate to fend for himself when dealing with problems in his province, and may also have given him some freedom in undertaking large scale building projects, which would have enhanced not only his standing, but that of the Roman Empire and of the Caesar (Bond 2004: 14–15).12 The name Pilate appears on a recently published seal ring that was found in Herodium (Amorai- Stark et al . 2018).View all notes Indeed, the minting of coins by the prefect of Judea was limited to the time when his supervisor was in Rome. Upon the return of the Syrian governor in 32 CE, minting ceased in the time of the prefects. As for the negative reviews Pilate received in the historical sources, it has been argued that while the prefect’s “behavior is often seen as merely willful … actually, all of the incidents of his governorship are explicable by a single principle: as a loyal officer of Rome and Caesar he would not allow Judea special treatment” (Paltiel 1991:95).