Late in 2014, in the ancient quarry at Baalbek in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon, the largest worked monolith in the world was discovered. The newly found megalith weighs, it is estimated, an astonishing 500 tons more than the former record holder, ‘The Stone of the South,’ or Hajar el Hibla, from the same quarry, a massive 1242 tons. A third monolith called the ‘Stone of the Pregnant Woman,’ or the Hajar el Hibla, weighing about 1000 tons, rests virtually on top of the newly discovered block, still sitting, unused, in the ancient quarry. Several stone blocks of between 400 and 800 tons did, however, make it from the quarry to the nearby Roman ‘Temple of Jupiter,’ some 800 meters northeast. Amazingly, these giant blocks were raised 20 feet into the air and placed with machine-like precision in the foundations of the ancient complex. The three blocks beneath the Jupiter temple are known as the ‘Trilithon.’
Prof. Janine Abdel Massih and the German Archaeological Institute made the new discovery, which has now been calculated to be 1650 tons. Until recently, it had lain buried under several feet of earth. Measuring 19.6, by 6, by 5.5 meters its profile reveals not only enormous size but also precision stonework like that found in ancient Peru and Egypt.
About Baalbek’s enormous blocks, best selling author Graham Hancock says provocatively: “I believe these huge megaliths long predate the construction of the Temple of Jupiter and are likely to be 12,000 or more years old—contemporaneous with the megalithic site of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. I suggest we are looking at the handiwork of the survivors of a lost civilization, that the Romans built their Temple of Jupiter on a pre-existing, megalithic foundation, and that they were unaware of the giant hewn megaliths in the ancient quarry as these were covered by sediment in Roman times (as, indeed, the newly discovered block still was until very recently).” (http://www.grahamhancock.com/forum/HancockG11.php)
The Roman Hypothesis
So just how does current archaeology explain the existence of such immense artifacts? Officially Baalbek was built by the Romans in 27 BC, but folklore, from the indigenous inhabitants, speak of ancient giants in the area. The giants, called Titans by some, not the Romans, it was said, were responsible for the original construction. After all, the largest weights that the Romans could effectively manage were nowhere near the size of the Baalbek monoliths. To put it in perspective, the relatively light, 323-ton Laterano obelisk caused a decades-long transportation project from Egypt to Rome. The largest stone at Stonehenge weighs around 45 tons. The new discovery is over 36 times as heavy.
The Roman construction scenario, indeed, begs many questions. Just how could the Romans have moved the massive stones from the quarry to the main site, and then placed them so accurately, three stories above ground level? In 1977, Jean-Pierre Adam made a study arguing that the blocks could have been moved on rollers with machines using capstans and pulleys, a process, which, he suggested, could require 512 workers to move a 557-ton block (just half as heavy as the trilithon blocks) (http://hiddenincatours .com/baalbek-in-lebanon-insanely-large-stonework-of-the-gods/). However, this does not explain how they were then lifted and fitted into place. Other estimates say that it would take 40,000 men to move them up to the main temple.
The dating of the site is also under scrutiny, due to the weathering on the larger blocks. French scholar, Louis Felicien de Saulcy and archaeologist Ernest Renan came to the conclusion that the stones of the Trilithon are much older than the Roman temple on top. This, however, has not deterred modern scholars and academics from championing the Roman ‘claim’ on Baalbek. The question remains, though, did the Romans really have the capability to construct such a site, and did they have a reason to do so? There are no records to indicate that they did. The biggest stone that we know of ever moved by the Romans was the Laterano obelisk, but in 27 BC, Augustus Caesar ordered that a much larger obelisk (some estimates claim as much as 455 tons) be transported, but his engineers failed miserably and that two, 230-ton ones were moved instead.
A deeper mystery of Baalbek, though, may lie quietly in its original birthplace—the quarry. Some believe the remaining stones could be part of a tradition evident at other important, and very ancient, sites. Might they, in fact, have been left deliberately for future generations to discover? Could an ancient esoteric tradition have originally marked the birthplace of the temple, keeping it ‘open’ as a sacred site to be built by future generations? ‘Forgotten stones’ like this have been found at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, Aswan in Egypt, on Easter Island, and Ollantaytambo in Peru, not to mention Stonehenge, whose quarry is over 100 miles away and is incorporated into a great geometric landscape design linking ancient sites across England and Wales.
What if Baalbek’s megaliths were left there for a reason—part of an ancient tradition to leave the largest stone in the quarry, itself a sanctified zone, a place from where the temple was birthed? Freemasons still carry out rituals at ancient quarries, and at the Olmec quarry at the Tuxtla Mountains on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, local shamans still revere them as sacred places. Was this part of a very ancient tradition in which the megalithic builders partook, one that was passed down through multiple generations, and was part of a ritual technique that may have been seen to bring the stones to ‘life’ and imbue them with ‘power’?
Important sites, such as Göbekli Tepe, Aswan in Egypt, Easter Island, and Stonehenge, all have a tradition of giants, as well as “leaving the largest stone in the Quarry,” as though it was a marker, like a belly button, or ‘navel’ indicating where the stones originated. Could Baalbek be an example of this practice, and serve to pinpoint the temple’s origins as well? Some believe this is so. They also think the stonemasons may have left us with a ‘test’—to try and move the stones ourselves in this current era and see how we get on with that challenge.
The Titans of Baalbek
The origins of Baalbek are shrouded in mystery. Baalbek contains the name ‘Baal’ that generally means ‘Lord’ or ‘God,’ and to the Phoenicians it meant ‘Sun.’ The site sits upon a ‘tel’ or occupational mound 1150 meters above sea level and has been inhabited continuously since the Early Bronze Age (2900–2300 BC). In the Bible, Baalbek appears under the name Baalath, a town refortified by Israel’s King Solomon, c. 970 BC (1 Kings 9:18 and 2 Chronicles 8:6). King Solomon was involved in another, similar, great construction project in Jerusalem. Question marks still hang over the 570-ton blocks that prop up the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) at the supposed location of Solomon’s Temple. Its staggering size combined with its potential age has been compared to Baalbek, with little knowledge about its origins coming forth.
The Romans called Baalbek ‘Heliopolis,’ after its namesake in Egypt. Heliopolis, meaning ‘City of the Sun,’ was the name given to the temple by the Ptolemaic Kings of Egypt around 250 BC. Some of the megaliths on the Giza plateau in the valley Temple and Sphinx Temple, and at the Osirion at Abydos, have a similar style and are incredibly large, and the precision work is astonishing, but, still, the size does not approach what we find at Baalbek.
Curiously, the famous boats buried on the Giza plateau are made from cedar wood, most likely sourced from the hills of Baalbek. Author Andrew Collins discovered further ancient connections, including the story of Isis and Osiris, whose floating coffin reached Byblos in Lebanon. In the fifth century an obscure story relates that a ‘statue’ was carried ritually from Heliopolis in Egypt to its Lebanese namesake by Egyptian priests (Alouf, Michel M., History of Baalbek, 1890). Most notably, there was also a strong tradition, recounted by Macrobius and others, that the Egyptian priests actually erected a temple at Baalbek dedicated to the worship of the sun. If they could build the pyramids, the Osirion, and the Valley Temple, why not Baalbek? Baalbek sits five degrees east of Giza, and four degrees north, suggesting it may have been a major marker on an ancient survey of the Earth, with the axis mundi at the Great Pyramid.
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.” (A.F. Alford, The Phoenix Solution, 1998)
The Phoenician historian Sanchoniatho’s writings give some support to the local Baalbek folklore that giants may have built it. The ‘auxiliaries’ or ‘allies’ of Cronus, were the ‘Eloeim’—a misspelling of the term Elohim—the sons of whom (the bene ha-elohim) were said, in the Book of Enoch, to have been a divine race that came unto the Daughters of Man, who subsequently gave birth to giant offspring known as the Nephilim. (www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/baalbek.htm pt.2).
Can we really believe that the ‘Nephilim’ or ‘Giants’ built these sites? Over the last six years I have become enthralled with the subject, especially the North American skeletal discoveries. Jim Vieira, my colleague, has compiled over 1500 reports of giants, with several found in the locations described in the Old Testament and Book of Enoch. Ancient Babylon (and the regions north of there) was the home of the Ammorites: “whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was as strong as the oaks.” (Amos 2:9-10). Tantalizingly, it mentions cedar trees that were known to predominantly grow on the hills of Baalbek, so is this passage a reference to the Amorite Giants in the area of Baalbek? Other Biblical references in that area include King Og of Bashan who was the last of the Rephaim (a Hebrew name for Giants), and an Amorite King—and had an iron bedstead or sarcophagus measuring “nine cubits in length and four cubits in width.”
Heading further north to Byblos in current-day Lebanon, a mysterious reference to Og survives. A damaged seven-line Phoenician funerary inscription dated to around 500 BC, states that if someone disturbs the bones of the deceased, “the mighty Og will avenge me.”
When Moses was heading up to the “Promised Land” during the Exodus, his army met with giants and eventually defeated them. The idea that the Amorites were giants is supported by the report of the spies, whom Moses sent through the land of Canaan, and some that went further north than Baalbek. The Amorites were one of the peoples they encountered (Numbers 13:29), and they claimed that, “all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.” (Numbers 13:32).
The giants obviously were not wiped out by the Israelite army. In around AD 600, further reports of warriors over eight feet tall emerged in the Greek histories, with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in his campaign against Jerusalem: “From the ends of the earth you are come, with your sword-hilt of ivory bound with gold… You accomplished a great feat… killing a warrior who lacked only one palm’s breath of five royal cubits (eight feet).” (The Aristocratic Ideal and Selected Papers by Walter Donlan, p.60-61).
In 2006 Israeli archaeologists found evidence for the giant slain by the biblical David. Goliath’s existence is indicated on a small ceramic shard that dates to around 950 BC, within 70 years of when he was supposed to have existed. Scientists made the discovery at Tel es-Safi, a dig site in southern Israel thought to be the location where the Philistine giant once lived. Goliath was famous for wielding a 600 shekels (15 lbs.) spearhead, so when some spearheads 66 cm. long (26 in.) weighing 2.05 kg. (4.5 lb.) were discovered in 1962, comparisons were made. Similar objects have been found in Megiddo and other sites nearby (https://rephaim23.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/giant-spearheads-from-canaan-2600-bc-26-inches-4-5-lbs/).
In 1950 Dr. Louis Burkhalter, former French delegate to the Prehistoric Society, dug up some huge stone tools near Satifah, Syria. Some were abnormally large, weighing 3.5 kg. Giantologists saw this as evidence of Giants existing in that area. On further investigation, I found that in the area is a temple dedicated to Baal that is said to have been built by Phoenicians with some foundation blocks up to five meters long. Based on Baalbek’s block dimensions, this must be about 100 tons or more. The region was said to be inhabited by the ‘giant’ Amorites. It has been rumored that a group of Russian scientists with Professor Ernst Muldashev, discovered a giant’s graveyard near Aleppo, Syria, with reports of a 7.5-meter skeleton buried there, but the locals would not let them near it. At Suq Wadi Barada on the outskirts of Damascus the Tomb Abel (son of Adam) is nearly nine meters long and said to contain giant bones. This is only 75 km. southeast of Baalbek. (http://www.messagetoeagle.com/abelgravegiant.php#ixzz3RTjqP55x)
Further north in the Bible lands, near ancient Edessa, researcher Joe Taylor claims to have a letter that describes the digging up of a 120 cm. femur bone in Southeast Turkey, that could be in the vicinity of Göbekli Tepe near Sanliurfa—the birthplace of Abraham. Near Mount Ararat some giant jaws 6.5 inches wide were photographed at Erzurum Hotel in Eastern Turkey that were estimated to fit a 12- to 14-foot giant (http://greaterancestors.com/giant-turkish-jaws/). Just over the border in Armenia, some mighty bones of several giants have been discovered. The largest, discovered in 1996 in the village of Hoth was estimated to be 13 feet tall (http://greaterancestors.com/modern-armenian-fossils-giants/)
Baalbek, like Göbekli Tepe, is a developing story that intrigues any budding megalithomaniac or giantologist, as we try to grasp the ingenuity, and quite possibly, massive height of our distant ancestors. Whether it was constructed by some very advanced people, or by giants, their origins are still well hidden, much like those of the 1650-ton block was for potentially thousands of years. Göbekli Tepe was deliberately buried at the last stage of its life. At Baalbek, the mighty quarry stones were also buried, quite possibly, for a future generation, like ours, to discover. Even the late Göbekli Tepe archaeologist Klaus Schmidt (1953 – 2014) hinted that the working of the stone may have been an important part of temple building: “In ancient Egypt, the dragging and erecting of holy pillars was an important part of ritual events.” (Göbekli Tepe: A Stone-Age Sanctuary in South-East Anatolia, by Klaus Schmidt, p. 123).
Hugh Newman is author of Earth Grids (2008) and co-author with Jim Vieira of Giants on Record (2015). He organizes the Megalithomania conferences and tours. http://www.megalithomania.co.uk