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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