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No. 60: Nov-Dec 1988

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Unbelievable Baalbek

The city of Baalbek, called Heliopolis by the ancient Greeks, lies some 50 miles northeast of Beirut. Here are ruins of the greatest temple the Romans ever tried to construct. However, we must focus not on mundane Roman temples but upon a great assemblage of precisely cut and fitted stones, called the Temple today, which the Romans found ready-made for them when they arrived at Baalbek. It was upon this Temple, or stone foundation, that the Romans reared their Temple of Jupiter. No one knows the purpose of the much older Temple underneath the Roman work.

J. Theisen has reviewed the basic facts known about the Temple's construction -- and they are impressive, perhaps even anomalous. Being 2,500 feet long on each side, the Temple is one of the largest stone structures in the world. Some 26 feet above the structure's base are found three of the largest stones ever employed by man. Each of these stones measures 10 feet thick, 13 feet high, and is over 60 feet long. Knowing the density of limestone permits weight estimates of over 1.2 million pounds. Some people with impressive engineering skills cut, dressed, and moved these immense stone blocks from a quarry 3/4 of a mile away.

A walk to this quarry introduces the observer to the Monolith, an even larger block of limestone: 13 feet, 5 inches; 15 feet, 6 inches; and 69 feet, 11 inches. The Monolith weighs in at over 2,000,000 pounds. In comparison, the largest stones used in the Great Pyramid tip the scales at only 400,000 pounds. Not until NASA moved the giant Saturn V rocket to its launch pad on a giant tracked vehicle has man transported such a large object.

Today, one sees no evidence of a road connecting the quarry and Temple. Even if a road existed, logs employed as rollers would have been crushed to a pulp. But, obviously, someone way back then knew how to transport million-pound stones. Just how, we do not know.

(Theisen, Jim; "Unbelievable Baalbek," INFO Journal, no. 55, p. 5, 1988. INFO = International Fortean Organization.)

Baalbek's Temple of Jupiter built by the Romans The Romans built Baalbek's Temple of Jupiter upon a much older foundation.

From Science Frontiers #60, NOV-DEC 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987