Frankensence: the "t" shaped terace is the orignal terrace that is depicted in Blackmarketeer's post/images above, it had a Canaanite
temple at the Western edge facing east, and a wider "court" that held an open altar. Thus the temple was the stem of the "t" and the wider court
the top bar of the "t". The Romans expanded the terrace to the east, and expanded it to the south (tho they left the original Canaan/phoenician
Yes, that is what I read as well. The T is the overall shape of the original terrace podium with the temple residing to the west, the altar and court
to the east. The images I posted earlier show it's overall layout. The DAI didn't conduct as thorough a survey of this section of the site as they
did with the Temple of Bacchus. For that temple they did an extensive below grade dig and thoroughly documented every stone, they then reconstructed
the various phases of the Temples history, from its original Roman design, and the later Arab and Medieval modifications made to it. The DAI also
shows itself to be focusing on the Roman history of the site and not its overall history, the Temple of Bacchus is considered to be the best preserved
Roman temple and consequently been the area of attention from the DAI.
Professor Kalayan, an engineer in the Dept. of Antiquities has written about the original altar location and pre-Roman construction:
"In the rectangular courtyard, to the south of the temple of Jupiter, there is a natural crevice about fifty meters deep. At the bottom of this
crevice there is a small rock cut altar. In all probability this crevice was the center of first worship. Pre-Roman construction is confined to the
middle part of the rectangular courtyard and contains remnants of the late second millennium BC. The site was a tell (an artificial hill, usually the
site of a city) which grew gradually like other tells of the Beqa'a."
(From Regette, sorry no online source for the quote)
You can view most of the pre-Roman podium along the southern wall, under the six remaining columns of the temple of Jupiter. Another line of stones
was placed by the Romans along side this wall in their attempt to expand the podium (they are easily distinguished from the older stones by the Romans
use of the Lewis holes).
The western wall is also preserved as a pre-Roman phase. The DAI did clear all the stone work from the top of this wall which includes the famous
trilithons. What they uncovered was NO Lewis holes (eliminating the Romans as its builder). They then reconstructed the wall as they found it.
Kalayan goes on for some length about the extent of the podium in its pre-Roman phase, especially as an enclosure for the ancient altar. The first
true temple to be built at Baalbek came in the "Seleucid" times, which may(or may not) coincide with the reign of Solomon.
Ancient altar and enclosing court, raised upon a podium (late 2nd millenium, although the altar has been dated much earlier):
Seleucid phase, addition of temple and expansion of court, including possible placement of the trilithons. This would be the "t-shaped"
podium referred to by the DAI. The existing temple of Jupiter is using the Hellenistic temple's podium as a foundation.
Roman phase, which was to have expanded the podium in three directions, North, South, and East. The East was the direction of greatest
expansion since it incorporated the addition of their Propylaeum.
Now there is a lot of conjecture being raised by Kalayan, Ragette, and Weigand, most of it having to do with when and how the Romans built the
temples. They also have made a few contradictions which elaborates how difficult it must be to accurately discern the overall history of the site,
especially given that the Roman building phase must have eradicated a great deal of the clues left by the earlier builders as to their identity. I
don't think at this point its a question of these original builders being anyone other than the Canaanites, although Canaanites is a very broad term.
Which Canaanite tribe first dedicated the ancient-most alter? Who delineated the tell? Who expanded the altar and built the first of many courts and
podiums? All of this seems lost to history. Only a few references exist (one of which is the Bible) that note Solomon's involvement, but by his time
the site was already ancient.
My problem with a site like Ramtops (Doug Weller) is he didn't bother to check the facts on the site by reading any of the available sources on
Baalbek in his desire to "debunk" Z. Sitchin. He claims that the site is "through and through" Roman, and that Sitchin's theory the site was used
in ancient (pre-Roman) times as a launching pad, which necessitated the use of monumental building blocks to bear their weight, couldn't be true
because the site didn't exist until the Romans came along and built it. Unfortunately the debunker himself needed to be debunked as the site is
indeed pre-Roman. The podium, constructed with monumental building blocks, is simple NOT Roman through and through.
I'm using a close quarry site, it's where the "stone of the south" is located, being that it is also the largest stone ever quarried and weighs
more than any of the three trilithons, I figure it's as good a candidate as any for studying possible routes to the western wall. My description is
accurate, and unless there is an undiscovered stone causeway, how would they have dragged or rolled this stone to its final destination? It makes
little difference if the quarry is slightly higher in elevation if there's a ravine or downward slope then upward climb back to the wall. Even taking
a more northern route would necessitate lifting the stone over the rim that surround most of the quarry (see photos). No matter how you go, you're
the stone. Secondly, there would also be a good bit of turning
needed to position the stone, and with the idea of using
rollers the turning radius would by immense. So clearly the original builders weren't using narrow pathways. If a stone causeway did once exist who
removed it? Did the Romans remove an earlier Canaanite causeway? Did the Arabs remove a Roman causeway?