An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Archive 3414



6. The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek   A
By Alan F. Alford
Author of ‘Gods of the New Millennium’, ‘The Phoenix Solution’ and ‘When The Gods Came Down’.

The mysterious ruins of Baalbek. One of the great Power Places of the ancient world. For thousands of years its secrets have been shrouded in darkness, or bathed in an artificial light by those who would offer us a simplistic solution to its mysteries.

You are looking at the columns of the Temple of Jupiter – the grandest temple that the Romans ever built – one of the wonders of the ancient world. To this remote location in the Bekaa Valley of modern-day Lebanon, Roman emperors would travel 1,500 miles to make offerings to their gods and receive oracles on the destiny of their empire.

Much has changed in two thousand years. The magnificent temple is ruined, its gods abandoned, its secrets forgotten. Even the ruins have been neglected, wiped off the tourist map by twenty years of terrorism, war, hostages and hijackings.

Some archaeologists might well wish that Baalbek had been buried forever. For it is here that we find the largest dressed stone block in the world – the infamous Stone of the South, lying in its quarry just ten minutes walk from the temple acropolis. This huge stone weighs approximately 1,000 tons – almost as heavy as three Boeing 747 aircraft.[1]

Back at the temple acropolis, three stones not much smaller than this, weighing 800 tons each, have been miraculously fitted together in a wall, forming a Trilithon at a height of 20 feet.

I personally seized the opportunity to visit Baalbek in May 1995, shortly after tourists began returning to the bombed-out ruins of Lebanon. This e-tour will mirror my real life tour, which climaxed at the mighty Trilithon and the Stone of the South. In due course I will attempt to provide some personal insights into the enormous scale of this construction and the motivations of its builders.

First, however, I offer you the rare opportunity to see the entire Baalbek, of which the mighty Trilithon is only a part. As we progress through our e-tour, reflect on the glorious splendour that was once here and ask yourself “why here?”. What was it that caused the original sanctity of this remote site? What was it that prompted the Romans to quarry, move and erect literally millions of stone blocks?



6. The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek    (continued) B

We begin at the main acropolis by considering first this bird’s eye view of how it might have looked in Roman times, before its fortification by the Muslims. A monumental staircase leads up to the entrance or Propylaea, beyond which we find the Hexagonal Courtyard, the Great Courtyard, the Temple of Jupiter, the smaller Temple of Bacchus, and the much smaller Temple of Venus. Note the unusual fact that the acropolis of Baalbek is not aligned to the cardinal points of the compass.

The Temple of Venus can be dealt with briefly. Situated in what is now a field of rubble, its former elegance can no longer be seen, and only four of its ten columns remain standing. Being outside the fortified acropolis, this temple was swallowed up by an Arab town, to such an extent that the German Archaeological Mission had to remove five metres of debris to clear the first step of the monumental staircase at its entrance. The remains of the temple were dismantled and re-erected in the early 1930s, but they now threaten to collapse again.

We now enter the main acropolis via the Propylaea – what we see here is a reconstruction by the German archaeological expedition in 1905. The original staircase was destroyed by the Arabs to fortify the site and they dismantled the 12 granite columns which they re-used for defensive purposes. Only the bases of those columns survived, and they bore inscriptions identifying their Roman origin.

Having come through the entrance, we find ourselves in the middle of the impressive Hexagonal Courtyard, which is a unique feature for a temple of this period (it may well have been a concession by the Romans to local customs and traditions). Roman inscriptions are found here in abundance, but the purpose of the Hexagonal Courtyard remains unknown.

We now proceed into the Great Courtyard…









6. The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek (continued) C

We now proceed into the Great Courtyard – an immense square court, thought to have housed the statues of the pantheon of the twelve Great Gods. The photograph shows the remains of the Altar of Sacrifice. Although constructed by the Romans, it apparently supersedes a much earlier altar which was dedicated to the god Baal-Hadad, and is built over a natural crevice some 150 feet deep, at the bottom of which is a small rock-cut altar. There are few tourists around to provide a comparative scale of measurement, but such a person would in fact be no taller than the base of this altar.

Behind the Altar we can see the foundation of the Great Tower, which was an even more impressive structure, 50 feet high, with two independent flights of stairs. Both the Altar and Tower were destroyed by the Christians who erected a basilica here. In 1934-5 it was decided to tear down the basilica which was hindering archaeological excavation. Only then were the ancient Altar and Tower rediscovered. The Great Tower which once stood here was not a Roman tradition, but probably a concession to local traditions of worship in ‘high places’. Note the excavations to the left of this picture. The dig uncovered middle bronze age houses, from the 2nd millennium BC and evidence of earlier occupation back to 2900 BC.[2]

On the other side of the Great Courtyard lies a truly monumental staircase leading up to a raised platform on which the Temple of Jupiter once stood. In this picture we can see the bases of the now fallen columns – the bases alone are 8 feet high. If we wished, we could climb these stairs and stand in awe beneath the six remaining columns, which rise to a spectacular height of 66 feet. But the best view of these columns comes not from this angle but from the nearby Temple of Bacchus.

This is the Temple of Bacchus, and it is undoubtedly the best preserved Roman temple in the world. Its 46 columns included 15 on each side and 8 on the ends, most of which are intact in this picture, although the





6. The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek (continued) D

We now climb 33 steps to the Temple of Bacchus and enter a large court with an imposing doorway 40 feet high. Note the slipped keystone which was once propped up by a crude tower of bricks, but has now been properly renovated.

Proceeding through the doorway, we are surrounded by further columns and niches which once housed the pantheon of the gods. At the far end, nothing remains of the beautiful shrine which once stood against this far wall and housed the statue of the god Bacchus.

The main temple of Baalbek, however, was reserved for the chief deity himself – Iovi Optimo Maximo Heliopolitano ‘Jupiter the Most High, the Most Great’. This is the view of what remains from the staircase we saw earlier. The destruction of this magnificent temple is thought to have begun with the earthquake of 526 or 551. Curiously, the chronicler Michael the Syrian records the popular belief that the temple was destroyed by fire from the sky.[3] Historians assume this is a misunderstanding and think that the fire was a consequence of the earthquake.

Following that 6th century earthquake and fire, Byzantine and Arab occupants ravaged the ruins of the Temple of Jupiter, using its stone as building material elsewhere on the acropolis. Further earthquakes, such as in 1158, 1203, and 1664  increased the devastation.

The last really big quake in 1759 brought down three columns, leaving only the six that we see here. The Temple was so utterly destroyed that it has never been possible to accurately reconstruct its ground plan, and little can be gleaned from visiting the site.

We do know that 58 columns once graced this Temple, 19 down each side and 10 at each end, enclosing an area twice as large as the Temple of Bacchus. Each column soared to a height of 66 feet, built on a platform which was raised 26 feet higher than the surrounding buildings.

Here was a building which stretched to the limit the ingenuity of man, in which ancient man literally reached out to the heavens and communicated to the gods. To imagine the pride felt by those who took part in this magnificent achievement, even down to the humblest workman, is to recognise a greatness that is rarely found in modern society.

However, as magnificent as the Temple of Jupiter certainly was, it stood on a terrace of colossal stones which was, and still is, even more impressive. If you look carefully at the photograph above you will see me, 6 foot one inch in height, standing on a block which measures approximately 33 by 14 by 10 feet, and weighing an incredible 300 tons. There are nine such blocks visible in this wall.

Now, it is time to experience the climax of Baalbek…







6. The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek (continued) E

It is now time to experience the climax of Baalbek, and this requires retracing our steps to the entrance, and skirting around the outer walls of the acropolis. On the way we see the stark contrast between more 300-ton megaliths and the much smaller fortifications of the Arabs.

At last we turn a corner and see, in the western (strictly south-western) wall of the platform, the great Trilithon.

The Trilithon is the lighter-coloured course in the wall and comprises three granite stones beautifully fitted together at a height of 20 feet above present ground level.

The angle of this photograph – compromised by the fence and woods which now obstruct the view of this wall, hardly does justice to the huge size of these blocks, which are 14 feet 6 inches in height, 12 feet thick, and a staggering 64 feet in length (on average).

These three stones are slightly smaller than the Stone of the South, which we saw earlier, and are estimated to weigh approximately 800 tons each.

Now feast your eyes once again on the awesome 1000-ton Stone of the South, which weighs approximately as much as three Boeing 747 aircraft:

Give your imagination a little exercise by mentally trimming this 1,000 ton megalith into an 800-ton block – that is four fifths of this size – and now, keeping that image in your mind, take another look at three such stones in the Trilithon. Can it be true? Are these stones really there? Yes, sir. I have seen it with my own eyes.

The locals call this the ‘Miracle of the Three Stones’. I, on the other hand, prefer to call it ‘the Archaeologist’s Nightmare’, for our minds immediately begin to reel with questions – who built this megalithic wall, when did they build it, how did they build it, and, more importantly, why did they build it in the way that they did?





6. The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek (continued) F

This is one of the most amazing sights in the ancient world – the three 800-ton blocks of the mighty Trilithon (the lighter-coloured course), situated in a wall of the great acropolis of Baalbek in Lebanon.

Michel Alouf, the former curator of the ruins, once wrote of the Trilithon:

‘… in spite of their immense size, they [the Trilithon stones] are so accurately placed in position and so carefully joined, that it is almost impossible to insert a needle between them. No description will give an exact idea of the bewildering and stupefying effect of these tremendous blocks on the spectator’.[4]

Analysis of the Baalbek Platform

Observe in the above photograph the impressive platform of stones which underpins the Trilithon. Each of these stone blocks (the fifth visible layer of the wall) measures 33 by 14 by 10 feet and thus, according to my calculations, weighs approximately 300 tons. Note the outward tapering of these blocks. In my view this was once the platform’s uppermost layer, with the Trilithon being a later addition.

Observe, too, the supporting layers beneath the 300-ton blocks – at least four layers of carefully constructed smaller stones.

Now look closely at the adjoining wall, i.e. the south-eastern wall of the acropolis.


Here we see another row of 300-ton megaliths, measuring 33 feet in length and 14 feet in height. This layer of megaliths is quite ill-matched; some blocks are tapered, others are not, and the cut of the tapering does not match, even on adjacent blocks. It is as if this south-eastern side of the platform (perhaps the uppermost layer of the original platform) has at one time sustained serious damage and been subsequently reconstructed.

The significant fact, which is not readily apparent without a visit to Baalbek, is this: the rows of 300-ton blocks in the adjoining south-western and south-eastern walls are at exactly the same level – in other words, the Trilithon layer rises above any of the other megalithic stones and does not form part of a level terrace. This fact has led me to a conclusion which is shared by some conventional researchers – that the Baalbek platform as it stands is incomplete, perhaps being part of an unfinished defensive wall.

Such a conclusion is supported by the Stone of the South, which is still attached to the rocky floor of the quarry. Whilst it is possible that the block was considered faulty, it is perhaps more likely that the Stone of the South was abandoned when the project as a whole was suddenly cancelled.

How was Baalbek built?

This view from the quarry shows that the distance to the Baalbek acropolis is not huge – no more than a third of a mile. Nor is the elevation very different between the two points. Although we do not know the topography of the site at the time the wall was constructed, it does seem feasible that the stones might have been dragged up a ramp to the position where they now lie. Theoretically, then, the lifting of the stones would have been limited only to positional adjustments.

Nevertheless, when we consider the size and weight of the Baalbek stones and the fact that the route to the acropolis is not entirely flat, transportation via non-technological means would have presented the builders with formidable problems.

So, how was the job done? How were three 800-ton stones cut, moved and erected in the Baalbek acropolis?

This is a question which must be tackled with great caution, for it is not at all clear who the builders of Baalbek actually were.

If you ask an archaeologist, he will tell you that the Romans built the temples of Baalbek and he or she might well point out that there are work gang inscriptions which date the construction of the Temple of Jupiter to the 1st century ad, i.e. to the Roman era. The archaeologist might also point out to you that the Romans did know how to move and lift heavy stones; after all, we know that they transported a large number of multi-hundred ton obelisks to Rome from Egypt, and that was no mean feat two thousand years ago.

The archaeologist will thus suppose that the platform of Baalbek, on which the Roman temples stand, must also belong to the Roman era. And he or she will thus explain the construction of the Trilithon by reciting what is known about Roman construction techniques. Thus the explanation involves the erection of the Trilithon by push-and-shove methods, with the Romans probably using nothing more than wooden rollers, ropes, wooden lifting frames and human muscle power.

Archaeologists typically overlook the fact that experiments with stones much lighter than 800 tons have crushed the wooden rollers. And even if such a method was feasible, it would, by one estimate, have required the combined pulling power of 40,000 men to move the Stone of the South.[5] Incredible indeed.

Is there any evidence that the Romans built the platform of Baalbek as well as the temples upon it? One text book assures us that: ‘Part of a [Roman] drum or column similar to those found in the Temple of Jupiter was used as a block in the foundation under the Trilithon’.[6] But where is the evidence for this Roman drum? I myself have been to Baalbek and I can show you dozens of photographs of the foundation walls, but I cannot show you the alleged Roman drum. It seems to have vanished into thin air.

A good counter argument lies in the fact that the Baalbek platform is out of all proportion to the temples which stand upon it, being thus suggestive of two different phases in construction.[7] This same observation was made by Professor Daniel Krencker of the German archaeological mission, although it led him to the conclusion that the Temple of Jupiter was originally planned on the same colossal scale as these foundations.[8] In other words, Krencker believed that the Roman builders must have had a change of mind. (How many times have we heard this before? Call me a sceptic but it seems to me that ‘a change of mind’ is archaeologist-speak for anything which the archaeologist cannot comprehend!)

In the absence of any proof as to who built the platform of Baalbek, it becomes very difficult to draw any firm conclusions as to the construction methods used. What we can do, however, is demonstrate the scale of the job by explaining how the Trilithon would be erected using today’s technology.

The Baldwins Challenge

In 1996, I posed the problem of the Baalbek stones to Baldwins Industrial Services – one of the leading crane hire companies in Britain. I asked them how they might attempt to move the 1,000-ton Stone of the South and place it at the same height as the Trilithon.

Although it is sometimes claimed that modern cranes cannot lift stones as heavy as 800-tons,[9] this is actually incorrect. Bob MacGrain, the Technical Director of Baldwins, confirmed that there were several mobile cranes that could lift and place the 1,000-ton stone on a support structure 20 feet high. Baldwins themselves operate a 1,200 ton capacity Gottwald AK912 strut jib crane,[10] whilst other companies operate cranes which can lift 2,000 tons. Unfortunately, however, these cranes do not have the capability to actually move whilst carrying such heavy loads.

How, then, might we transport the Stone of the South to the Baalbek acropolis?

Baldwins suggested two possibilities. The first would use a 1,000-ton capacity crane fitted with crawler tracks. The disadvantage of this method would be the need for massive ground preparation works – to provide a solid, level roadway for the crane to move.

The alternative to a crane would be a series of modular hydraulic trailers, combined to create a massive load carrying platform. These trailers raise and lower their loads using hydraulic cylinders built into their suspension. The initial lift at the quarry would be achieved by the use of a cut-out section beneath the stone, which the trailer would drive into. The final positioning in the wall, at a height of 20 feet, would be achieved by using an earth ramp.

This is all very interesting, and gives us some feel for the scale of the engineering challenge, but there is, of course, one slight problem with the Baldwins scenario, namely that none of this twentieth century technology was supposedly available when Baalbek was built.

The Puzzle of Baalbek

Here is a fascinating question. Why did the builders of the Trilithon struggle with 800-ton weights when it would have been far easier to split the giant monoliths into smaller blocks? Why not use 4 x 200-ton stones rather than a cumbersome 800-tonner?

According to my engineer-friends, it was very risky to use 800-ton blocks in the way seen at Baalbek. This is because any vertical defects running lengthwise through the stone might have led to a critical structural weakness. In contrast, a similar fault in a smaller block would not have affected the overall construction. Either the builder was incompetent and just plain lucky or he was competent and supremely confident in his materials.

Whichever way we look at it, however, it makes no sense to imagine tens of thousands of men struggling to move and erect three of these monstrous 800-ton stones.

So the question is “why did they not split the stones?”.

One possible answer to this puzzle is that the builders moved the stones in huge sizes simply because they could. In other words, it might have been the case that, with a high technology available, the builders found it more expeditious to cut and move one large stone rather than several smaller ones. This presupposes the kind of high-tech ‘lost civilisation’ which has been mooted by writers such as Bauval, Hancock and West, or the more plausible ‘lost race’ as advocated by myself in ‘The Phoenix Solution’ (1998).[11]

The Megalomaniac Theory

What possible motive could there have been for the Romans to drag three shapeless stone blocks, weighing 800-tons each, and place them into the wall of a structure in a remote region of the Roman empire?

Here is a possible scenario. Let us imagine that the distant Roman empire wished to stamp its authority on one of the most sacred sites of the Near East. Let’s say an instruction was issued from the central bureaucracy to erect the world’s largest temple. An over-zealous Roman governor at Baalbek then conceived a temple plan on an unimaginable scale and ordered the local people to comply. Thousands of workers were drafted in from all around the Bekaa Valley. Then, as the platform neared completion, even bigger stones were dragged to the site. The workers became exhausted, time and resources became a problem, and the megalithic layer was abandoned. A new official then arrived and blew the whistle, stopped the brutality and brought a sense of realism to the enterprise; the order was thus given for a massive down-grading of the yet-to-be-built temples.

This is a purely hypothetical and imaginative scenario, and there is a problem with it, because there is no historical evidence for it. Where, for example, is the record of a megalomaniac Roman governor at Baalbek? Surely such a man would have been notorious for one of the greatest acts of folly ever witnessed. And yet we find no recollection of this mad dictator among the Romans and no recollection where we would most expect to find it – in the legends of the local people…





6. The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek (continued) G

The Local Legends of Baalbek

Curiously, it would seem that not one Roman emperor ever claimed credit for the Baalbek temple complex or for the construction of its massive foundations.[12]

Similarly, we find no evidence for Roman construction among the local people. What we do find instead are legends which suggest that Baalbek was built by super-human powers in an epoch long before human civilisation began.

The Arabs believed that Baalbek once belonged to the legendary Nimrod, who ruled this area of Lebanon. According to an Arabic manuscript, Nimrod sent giants to rebuild Baalbek after the Flood. Another legend states that Nimrod rebelled against Yahweh and built the Tower of Babel here, in order to ascend to Heaven and attack his God. According to one version of this legend, Nimrod ascended to the top of the Tower but found himself as far from his objective (Heaven) as when he had begun; after the Tower collapsed, Nimrod attempted to scale the heavens in a carriage drawn by four strong birds, but the carriage, after wandering for a long time in space, eventually crashed on Mount Hermon, thus killing Nimrod. Earlier in this tale, Nimrod had been visited by Abraham, who came as a messenger of God to warn Nimrod of punishment for his sins. But Nimrod, vexed by these threats, had cast Abraham into a blazing furnace (from which the latter somehow emerged unscathed).[13]

The local Muslims believed that it was beyond the capability of humans to move the enormous stones of Baalbek. Instead of giants, however, they credited the work to demons or djinn. Muslim tradition states that Baalbek was once the home of Abraham, and later of Solomon. It is also suggested that the prophet Elijah was taken into Heaven from Baalbek – upon a steed of fire.[14]

Other legends associated Baalbek with the Biblical figure of Cain – the son of Adam – claiming that he built it as a refuge after his god Yahweh had cursed him. According to Estfan Doweihi, the Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon: ‘Tradition states that the fortress of Baalbek… is the most ancient building in the world. Cain, the son of Adam, built it in the year 133 of the creation, during a fit of raving madness. He gave it the name of his son Enoch and peopled it with giants who were punished for their iniquities by the flood.'[15]

Modern Theories of Baalbek

Few modern writers have dared to tackle the enigma of Baalbek, perhaps because Lebanon was off-limits to tourists during the troubled decades at the close of the second millennium.

One writer to take an interest is Andrew Collins, whose articles suggest the possibility that Baalbek was some kind of astronomical observatory.[16]

The best known ‘alternative’ theory, however, is that of ancient astronaut writer Zecharia Sitchin, who asserted that Baalbek was a space centre, built by a visiting race of ‘Anunnaki’ gods as a launching pad for their space rockets.[17] An intriguing aspect of Sitchin’s theory was the connection between Baalbek-Heliopolis – the City of the Sun – and the ancient legend of the Sun-god who used to park his chariot at Baalbek. This rather appealing theory is, however, sunk (in my mind at least) by the revelations in my book ‘When The Gods Came Down’ (April 2000). In this book I revealed that the Sun-god and the Anunnaki had nothing whatsoever to do with ancient astronauts.[18]

To close with an amusing anecdote, the prize for the most imaginative theory of Baalbek must undoubtedly be awarded to the English traveller, David Urquhart, who suggested that the builders of Baalbek had used mastodons – huge extinct elephant-like mammals – as mobile cranes to help them move the stones![19]


Why did successive Roman emperors travel thousands of miles to Baalbek to receive oracles? Why did the Romans build the grandest of all their temples so far away from Rome? What motivated them to ship red granite columns all the way from Aswan in Egypt to the port of Tripoli, and from there to Baalbek via Homs, a detour which, in order to circumnavigate the mountains, required a journey of 200 kilometres? This was certainly a most inconvenient place to erect the greatest Roman temple in the world, so why did it have to happen here, in the Bekaa Valley, of all places?

If we can answer this question, we can perhaps solve the mystery of Baalbek. As one authority on Baalbek commented, however, ‘nowhere is it clearly stated to what cause the religious importance of this town is attributed’.[20]

Ultimately, one suspects that the answer to the sanctity of Baalbek lies in a decoding of its ancient religion, for it is religion which has been the driving force at Baalbek since time immemorial.

The sanctity of Baalbek in Roman times has already been mentioned and one’s attention is drawn inevitably to the trinity of gods who were worshipped here: Venus, Bacchus and the mighty Jupiter. The latter – equivalent to the Greek god Zeus – embodied all the symbolism of the archetypal Storm God. The fifth century writer Macrobius described the statue of Jupiter as follows:

‘The statue of the god is of gold, representing a person without a beard, who holds in his right hand a whip, charioteer-like, and in his left a thunderbolt with ears of corn.'[21]

What was the meaning of this Storm-God with thunderbolt? To modern scholars, Jupiter was a god of thunder and lightning and nothing but thunder and lightning. If modern scholars are to be believed, our quest for religious meaning at Baalbek culminates anti-climactically in the primitive worship of mundane weather-gods.

However, readers of my book ‘When The Gods Came Down’ will recognise in the statue described by Macrobius a crucial esoteric meaning in the connection between the thunderbolt and the ‘ears of corn’.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the Roman gods are only part of the answer to the sanctity of Baalbek, for the town was in fact named after Baal, the Storm-God of the Canaanites/Phoenicians. And the legends of the god Baal provide numerous fascinating parallels to the gods of the ancient Mesopotamian exploded planet cults (as decoded in my books). Indeed, my own private research suggests that the Canaanite/Phoenician religion could itself be described as an exploded planet cult.

Inevitably, then, we must ask whether the importance of Baalbek might have resulted from a celestial event – perhaps the impact of a meteorite – during the pre-literate era. Might a meteorite be the key to the importance of Baalbek – the northern ‘Heliopolis’ – just as the meteorite called ‘the Benben Stone’ was the key to the importance of Annu – the southern ‘Heliopolis’ in ancient Egypt?

And what about those gigantic stones in the Trilithon? Were they constructed deliberately, perhaps to evoke the idea of the meteorites – the giant seeds of life – lying embedded in the foundations (or Womb) of Mother Earth? Or were they simply the remains of an unfinished defensive wall?

Perhaps we will never know the answer to this question or to the question of how the stones of the Trilithon were moved. The problem is that everyone sees at Baalbek what they want to see, based on their own preconceptions and their own paradigm. Perhaps it will always be so.

One final thought to close. If the mysterious stones of Baalbek are impelling us to exercise our minds, then perhaps the ancient builders are partly achieving their objectives. But in order for us to pass, as initiates, the Test of the Trilithon, it is necessary for us to do something more than merely exercise our minds. It is necessary first to challenge everything that we have ever been taught about the meaning and origins of religion…


[1] A Boeing 747 aircraft weighs in at 337,840 kg.

[2] N. Jidejian, ‘Baalbek Heliopolis, City of the Sun’, Dar El-Machreq, Beirut, 1975, p. 15.

[3] N. Jidejian, ‘Baalbek Heliopolis, City of the Sun’, op. cit., p. 67.

[4] M. Alouf, ‘History of Baalbek’, 25th edition, p. 92.

[5] Estimate by Monsieur F. Caignart de Saulcy, cited in M. Alouf, op. cit., p. 101.

[6] N. Jidejian, ‘Baalbek Heliopolis, City of the Sun’, op. cit., p. 24.

[7] This factor persuaded both the French scholar Louis Felicien de Saulcy and the French archaeologist Ernest Renan that the platform walls were pre-Roman.

[8] Professor Daniel Krencker, German Archaeological Mission, cited in Alouf, op. cit., p. 80.

[9] G. Hancock, ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’, Mandarin, 1995, chapter 39, p. 362. Also Z. Sitchin, ‘The Stairway to Heaven’, Avon Books, 1980, chapter IX, p. 179.

[10] The Gottwald AK912 crane uses a 10.7-metre square outrigger base, a 35 metre maxiboom, a 43 metre maximast, a 117-ton upper counterweight and a 400-ton maxi-counterweight.

[11] A.F. Alford, ‘The Phoenix Solution’, Hodder & Stoughton, 1998.

[12] That is to say that there is no contemporary Roman inscription. There is, however, a 7th century manuscript (‘Chronographia’) in which John Malalas of Antioch credits the Temple of Jupiter to the Roman emperor Antonius the Pius. See M. Alouf, op. cit., p. 43.

[13] M. Alouf, op. cit., pp. 26-28.

[14] N. Jidejian, ‘Baalbek Heliopolis, City of the Sun’, op. cit., p. 7. Also M. Alouf, op. cit., pp. 26-28.

[15] M. Alouf, op. cit., p. 26.

[16] A. Collins ‘Baalebk: Lebanon’s Sacred Fortress’ in New Dawn Issue Nos. 43 & 44 (1997).

[17] Z. Sitchin, ‘The Stairway to Heaven’, op. cit., chapters IX, XII.

[18] A.F. Alford, ‘When The Gods Came Down’, Hodder & Stoughton, 2000.

[19] D. Urquhart, The Lebanon Diary, cited in M. Alouf, op. cit., p. 26.

[20]M. Alouf, op. cit., p. 32.

[21] N. Jidejian, ‘Baalbek Heliopolis, City of the Sun’, op. cit., p. 17. Also M. Alouf, op. cit., pp. 35-36.