A propos du trilithon de Baalbek. Le transport et la mise en oeuvre des mégalithes.
(About the trilithon of Baalbek. Transportation and the implementation of the megaliths.)
Can be read online [here]
. The illustrations are
self-explanatory, although too schematic. It's almost certain the Romans had to operate around the Herodian podium - and the southern portion of the
site, where the Temple of Bacchus would be built, would be the perfect terrain from which to bring in the trilithons and other foundations stones
(most of which weighed in the 350 ton range). The slope of the site would have to be graded for that temple anyhow, and it could have been done in
levels, so that each course of stone at the western podium could be slid in - as Dr. Lohmann puts it, "parked like a bus". Then the site could be
graded to elevate it to the next level of coursework, eventually reaching it's final height at the base of the trilithons, at which point the site
would then be level for the eventual construction of the Temple of Bacchus.
The western elevation view also indicates the trilithons extension beyond the width of the Herodian podium was the same as the width of the trilithons
themselves, a clear indication that trilithon-sized blocks would have wrapped around the entirety of the earlier podium, which we can assume was the
intent for the two remaining megaliths left lying in the quarries away to the west. This plan may have changed when engineers realized smaller blocks
Photo credit Jean-Pierre Adam
Dr. Lohmann also indicated that "lewis lifting appliances" may have in fact been used on the trilithons, not for lifting but for pulling, and the
tell-tale holes were removed by re-dressing the stones once they were moved into place. This would indicate that the stones were larger
quarried and moved, than their final size as we know them, as re-dressing them would entail removing an entire face of the stone to the depth of such
Jean-Pierre Adam shows several hypothetical means of sliding the trilithons into position - personally, I think the Romans may have also used a
treadwheel capstan, as Hadrian was known to have used these during this time frame and these would have allowed for an uninterrupted pulling force. A
treadwheel (or several) could be braced against the northern corner of the foundation blocks opposite the southern edge from which the trilithons
would be slid in from. Adam's sketches don't acknowledge the presence of the pre-Roman podium, although it would seem logical the Romans had to
remove/rebuild at least a portion at the western edge to accommodate themselves.
Alternative method proposed by Adam, a method used throughout the ancient world, is to turn the block to be moved into a 'fixed axle', with
semi-circular wooden framework attached to each side, turning it into a wheel. If you notice, the trilithons, including the two larger blocks still in
their quarry, are square in cross-section, perfectly suited for 'rolling', once fitted with these.
An example of a Roman treadwheel, which may be an alternative to the capstans as depicted by Adam above; from