A huge block, called the Stone of the Pregnant Woman, is considered to be the largest hewn stone in the world.
It still sits in a field near Baalbeck (aka Baalbek) , where it was cut almost 2,000 years ago,
(heavy equipment of the ancients)

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Jonathan Gray

International explorer, archaeologist and author Jonathan Gray has traveled the world to gather data on ancient mysteries. He has penetrated some largely unexplored areas, including parts of the Amazon headwaters. The author has also led expeditions to the bottom of the sea and to remote mountain and desert regions of the world. He lectures internationally.

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Baalbeck (Baalbek)

Mystic Places

The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek Ancients' Stone Technology Books


Baalbeck is a city in eastern Lebanon famous chiefly for its magnificent, excellently preserved Roman temple ruins. It was a flourishing Phoenician town when the Greeks occupied it in 331 B.C. They renamed it "Heliopolis" (City of the Sun).
It became a Roman colony under the Emperor Augustus in 16 B.C..On its acropolis, over the course of the next three centuries, the Romans constructed a monumental ensemble of three temples, three coutyards, and an enclosing wall built of some of the most gigantic stones ever crafted by man. Some tourists believe that the construction can only be attributed to extra-terrestial artwork.

At the southern entrance of Baalbeck is a quarry where the stones used in the temples were cut. A huge block, considered the largest hewn stone in the world, still sits where it was cut almost 2,000 years ago. Called the "Stone of the Pregnant Woman", it is 21.5m x 4.8m x 4.2meters in size and weighs an estimated 1,000 tons.

Stone of the Pregnant Woman

Do not miss this follow-up article by Alan Alford:  
The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek >>

The Temples In History

For centuries the temples of Baalbeck lay under meters of rubble, obscured by medieval fortifications. But even in ruin the site attracted the admiration of visitors and its historical importance was recognized.

The first survey and restoration work at Baalbeck was begun by the German Archaeological Mission in 1898. In 1922 French scholars undertook extensive research and restoration of the temples, work which was continued by the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities.

Baalbeck's temples were built on an ancient tell that goes back at least to the end of the third millennium B.C. Little is known about the site during this period, but there is evidence that in the course of the 1rst millennium B.C. an enclosed court was built on the ancient tell. An altar was set in the center of this court in the tradition of the biblical Semitic high places.

During the Hellenistic period (333-64 B.C.) the Greeks identified the god of Baalbeck with the sun god and the city was called Heliopolis or City of the Sun. At this time the ancient enclosed court was enlarged and a podium was erected on its western side to support a temple of classical form. Although the temple was never built, some huge construction from the Hellenistic project can still be seen. And it was over the ancient court that the Romans placed the present Great Court of the Temple of Jupiter. 

Aerial view of the Acropolis

The temple was begun in the last quarter of the 1rst century B.C., and was nearing completion in the final years of Nero's reign (37-68 A.D.). the Great Court Complex of the temple of Jupiter, with its porticoes, exedrae, altars and basins, was built in the 2nd century A.D. Construction of the so-called temple of Bacchus was also started about this time.

The Propylaea and the Hexagonal Court of the Jupiter temple were added in the 3rd century under the Severan Dynasty (193-235 A.D.) and work was presumably completed in the mid-3rd century. The small circular structure known as the Temple of Venus, was probably finished at this time as well.

When Christianity was declared an official religion of the Roman Empire in 313 A.D., Byzantine Emperor Constantine officially closed the Baalbeck temples. At the end of the 4th century, the Emperor Theodosius tore down the altars of Jupiter's Great Court and built a basilica using the temple's stones and architectural elements. The remnants of the three apses of this basilica, originally oriented to the west, can still be seen in the upper part of the stairway of the Temple of Jupiter.

After the Arab conquest in 636 the temples were transformed into a fortress, or qal'a, a term still applied to the Acropolis today.

During the next centuries Baalbeck fell successively to the Omayyad, Abbasid, Toulounid, Fatimid and Ayyoubid dynasties. Sacked by the Mongols about 1260, Baalbeck later enjoyed a period of calm and prosperity under Mamluke rule.

The temple complex of Baalbeck is made up of the Jupiter Temple and the Bacchus Temple adjacent to it. A short distance away is the circular structure known as the Temple of Venus. Only part of the staircase remains of a fourth temple dedicated to Mercury, on Kheikh Abdallah hill.

Temple of Jupiter

The first view the visitor has of Baalbeck is the six Corinthian columns of the Great Temple (or "Jupiter Temple") thrusting 22 meters into the skyline. Built on a podium seven meters above the Court, these six columns and the entablature on top give an idea of the vast scale of the original structure.

The complex of the Great Temple has four sections: the monumental entrance or Propylaea, the Hexagonal Court, the Great Court and finally the Temple itself, where the six famous columns stand.

The Temple of Jupiter is one of the most impressive Temples in Baalbeck.
It measures 88x48 meters and stands on a podium 13 meters above the surrounding terrain and 7 meters above the courtyard. It is reached by a monumental stairway.

Originally surrounded by 54 external columns, most of these now lie in fragments on the ground. The six standing columns are joined by an entablature decorated with a frieze of bulls and lions' heads connected by garlands.

The Podium is built with some of the largest stone blocks ever hewn. On the west side of the podium is the "Trilithon", a celebrated group of three enormous stones weighing about 800 tons each.

 The Trylithon

It was decided to furnish the temple with a monumental extension of the podium which, according to Phoenician tradition, had to consist of no more than three layers of stone. The fact remains that this decision initiated the cutting, transporting and lifting of the largest and heaviest stones of all times. Not only had a wall of 13 meters in height to be composed of three ranges of stones, but in the interest of appearance the middle blocks were made of a length four times their height. Adding to this a depth equal to the height of the stones, they had to be of a volume of up to 400 cubic meters per block, corresponding to a weight of almost 1000 tons. Technically, the builders of Baalbeck proved that they could do it, since three such blocks of the middle layer are in place, but in terms of time they did not succeed - the podium remained incomplete. Nevertheless, so awe-inspiring were those blocks to all beholders ever after, that Baalbeck was known for a long time primarily as the site of the three stones, the trilithon.

Do not miss this article by Alan Alford:  
The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek >>

Stone Technology of the Ancients(heavy equipment of the ancients)


Everybody who has traveled to Egypt, Mesopotamia, South America and many ancient places has seen it: the astonishing craftsmanship of these ancient stoneworkers. The precision fit of large stone blocks is eminent in both the Old and New World. It is hardly imaginable, that all of this should have been done by pure manual work alone. This very interesting link, Ancient Stone Technology, also  includes theories of Professor Davidovits from the Geopolymer Institute in France.
In short, his theory is that the 2 million blocks of limestone that make up the core of the pyramid of Chufu (Cheops), have not been cut into shape, but the limestone was solved in water, brought to the building place in small portions and then the blocks were cast in situ.  Even more interesting are his ideas on the precision-fit Inca walls: He puts forward a technique to soften the stone by use of acid plant extracts!
Another interesting website is STONE TECHNOLOGY. The ancient Egyptians were masters in working with stone. These pages document photographic evidence, historical research and contemporary debates on stone technology. Topics include predynastic stonewares, straight saws, circular saws, tube drilling and lathes - Photos, Research Papers and Newsgroup Debate Summaries.

Unfinished Obelisk

Location: Aswan Egypt 
Height: 41.75 meters 
Weight: 1185 tons 
Base: 4.2 meters 
Red granite

This 3000 years old obelisk in the Aswan quarry shows us an amazing feat of technology and archaeologists have learned much about the techniques of stone-cutting from examining this abandoned monument and from the tools which have been left behind (it developed a flaw during quarrying and was never completed, left to lie still attached to the living rock.)

If it had been extracted and erected as originally conceived, the Unfinished Obelisk would have stood 41.75 m (137 feet) tall and weighed 1,185 tons, dwarfing all others  (the largest survivor, the Lateran obelisk in Rome, rises 105 feet and weighs "only" 455 tons.)

Read More... 

Unfinished Obelisk. The granite quarries of ancient Aswan lay beside the Nile, thus providing easy access to boats for transporting this prized building stone to sites downstream. A crack in the granite stopped the cutting of what would have been an enormous obelisk (estimated at more than 40 meters high). Now the abandoned partially carved obelisk gives us information about how ancient stonecutters worked.
Photo © 2001 Mary Ann Sullivan.

Related LINKS


History of Baalbek
by Michel M. Alouf, Tedd St Rain (Introduction)


At one time, the worldwide fame of the ruins at Baalbek drew huge numbers of tourist crowds. In the present day, a trip to Baalbek is extremely difficult and considerably dangerous. Luckily, the former curator of the site, Michel M. Alouf, made his years of research available in this heavily illustrated work. The massive multi-level platform found at Baalbek, is believed by some scientists to be one of the "only" prediluvial sites that survived the flood. At a much later time, it became very well known to the Romans, who desecrated the site to build their magnificent temples. In fact, the largest Roman temples ever built were not in Rome, but were found at Baalbek. One of the most puzzling aspects of the ruins at Baalbek are the 1,000-plus ton stones which formed part of the original temple platform. A recent visit to the site allowed inspection of these large stones, and of the one at the quarry (pictured on the cover), where new measurements were taken which revealed the largest and most precisely cut stone at the Trilithon may weigh in at over 1,500 tons. The largest modern cranes in the world would have difficulty in lifting, let alone moving, these massive limestone blocks, and yet there they sit. These stones, and many other aspects of this important historical site are described at length in this handy reference guide.

Building in Egypt: Pharaonic Stone Masonry

by Dieter Arnold

Book Description
This book traces methods of Egyptian stone construction during the pharaonic period, from the construction of the step pyramids at Saqqara to the obelisks of Tuthmosis III to the temples of Rameses II at Thebes. Dr. Arnold covers all aspects of building, including planning, measuring, quarrying and production, transporting heavy monuments, building, digging shafts, repairing damages, and securing tombs. Richly illustrated with photos and field drawings by the author, ancient representations of building activities, and illustrations of tools and objects in museum collections, this book offers a frank appraisal of current knowledge of the process of Egyptian stone construction.

Front cover of the book The Parthenon Code. Click to see the whole cover enlarged.

The Parthenon Code: Mankind's History in Marble
by Robert Bowie Johnson Jr.

The DaVinci Code is Fiction.
The Bible Code is Bogus.
The Parthenon Code is True and Real, and It Tells the Story of Humanity's Origin.

The Parthenon Code is a startling testament to the validity of Scripture. Greek Myth and Genesis tell the same story from opposite viewpoints.

What is the Parthenon Code?

The Parthenon Code is a simple method of expression devised by ancient Greek artists to communicate religious ideas and historical information to the everyday citizens of Greece. The messages were very simple and far less abstract than writing. We can compare them to other types of visual language such as stained-glass windows in the Medieval period, and even comic strip panels and story-boards for television in our own day.

I call it the Parthenon Code because it was on Athena’s temple that this artistic communication reached its highest, and in many ways, its most straightforward and simple form. The seven sculptural themes on the outside of the temple and Athena’s gold and ivory idol-image on the inside portrayed interconnected truths about Greek origins. These historical and religious truths all appeared in similar ways on vase-paintings or on other temple sculptures, or on both. Greek artists went to great pains to tell us who they were and where they came from. It’s time we took them seriously.

Epilogue Excerpt:

“Where does Greek myth come from?” By the grace of God, we have answered her question. We know now that Greek myth is the true story of the origins of the human race, a story told from a rebellious religious orientation that leaves out the Creator of heaven and earth, and shuns His prophets. And we’ve learned that the Parthenon sculptures were the Greek artists’ ultimate expression of the “myths” of Zeus-religion, and of man as the measure of all things. But “O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways!” (Romans 11:33). What the Greeks meant to be an unparalleled, intricately chiseled monument to the glory of mankind turns out to be a detailed history of mankind’s delusion, and a clear-cut validation of the truth of the Word of God.

Other books by Robert Bowie Johnson Jr.:

Books by Alan Alford

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