The Puzzle of Baalbek (by Alan Alford). Analysis of the Baalbek Platform. How was it built?











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The Mystery
of the Stones at Baalbek

Mystic Places

Part 1  Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Books Links

The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek (4)

By Alan F. Alford
Author of 'Gods of the New Millennium', 'The Phoenix Solution' and 'When The Gods Came Down'

Part 4 of 5

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...

Continue (Part 5) >>

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This article is  the copyright of Eridu Books 2004. The images and diagrams are the copyright of Alan Alford or of other photographers, where indicated. Eridu Books welcomes the reproduction and dissemination of these pages, in original, unaltered form, for non-commercial purposes, but permission must be sought for any other usage, other than 'fair dealing' quotations.
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