I received a reply from Dr. Lohmann, who was gracious enough to answer several questions as well as provide a link to his latest article, which goes
into much greater depth than the two previous ones.
Regarding the trilithons, the conclusion is: 100% ROMAN
Dr. Lohmann states the trilithons belong to the scheme of the corinthian temple, built around the middle of the 1st cent. AD.
He's also provided a link to his most recent article: Kropp and
Lohmann: Construction Techniques at Heliopolis and Jerusalem
- he states the article is free for now, as it was recently published, so grab it
while you can. (He has another article pending which he writes will explore the pre-Roman podium in more depth.)
He gives several views of both the pre-Roman podium, which he attributes to Herod, and the Roman podium (including the trilithons). I think his
article also reveals to a degree why some of the earlier writings were contradictory as to the source of the 'pre-Roman' phase, and just how
extensive it was - in fact this phase had been labeled "Hellenistic", but that was due mainly to the peristasis of the design (a peristasis or
peristyle is an architectural style used in Greek temples.) This phase is anything but
Hellenistic. Lohmann writes the source for the first
monumental podium is Herodian, which is much closer to the Roman time-frame. The Herodian phase was also halted until it was resumed under the Romans,
at which point a large expansion of the podium was undertaken, in particular to the west, which is referred to as "Podium 2", of which the
trilithons are a part of. Lohmann goes into a great deal of depth in the comparisons between Herod's great temple in Jerusalem and here at Baalbek.
(something myself and the sources I listed incorrectly associated with Solomon). Some sources had also attributed the 'pre-Roman' phase to the
Seleucids (and their connection to Solomon) as well, repeated by Ragette in 1980. The Weigand map I viewed also seemed to indicate 'Podium 2' with a
dashed line indicating pre-Roman, but I think now, based on information from Lohmann, this is due to the extension of the foundations of the Herodian
podium which at least in part, were used by the Romans for the construction of their extension. Viewed in plan on the DAI's earliest map it's not
clear where when one begins and the other ends, although Dr. Lohmann in his research has given this much greater attention.
Dark grey = pre-Roman (Herodian)
Light grey = Roman
Image source: Kropp and Lohmann: Construction Techniques at Heliopolis and Jerusalem
These low-res images don't do the source article justice, Dr. Lohmann goes into great detail of the 'pre-Roman' (Herodian) podium and the Roman
Slightly off topic:
Another interesting facet of this site I learned dealt with the etymology of the name, Bal Bekaa, as given by Stanley in Sinai and Palestine, in
connection with their history
"Bekka" is the same word as "Mecca" the m
being interchanged, as in the name of Baalbek itself - pronounced sometimes Maalbek.
is to press, as in a crowd; Mek
to suck out clean, as a young camel the milk from the udder.
One can also look at the shared history between the two sites - Bekka (as transliterated from Bekaa/Beqaa) and Mecca, both having an object falling to
earth (meteorite?) becoming a center of worship. Although it's not stated as such at Baalbek, other than this is the place where god cast Satan down
to earth, or angels of heaven fell to earth here. Meteorites played a big role back then, another one is mentioned in the Bible in Acts 19:23. Is it
possible a meteorite fell here and became the object/site of veneration as far back as the neolithic, carried all the way through the Canaan era,
becoming incorporated in the Abrahamic religions of Herod's era as well and the later Islamic phase?
Once again, my apologies Hans, Harte, after this I don't think there is any question whatsoever about who quarried and placed the trilithons, it's
absolutely the Romans, even the 'pre-Roman' podium is well within the time-frame of the Roman era, while some of the workers may have been of the
local indigenous population, there were no Phoenician or Canaan construction (other than the 'tell', which isn't really a construction, and the
various altars dating back to 7,200 BC). I had been working along the lines that Solomon was responsible for the earliest phase of monumental
construction at this site, but after reading Lohmann's presentation, it's obvious Herod was responsible for it and even he operated under the aegis
of the Romans, who finished what he may have started.