Kelley has great interest in ancient cultures throughout the world and has read many books and magazine articles about archaeology.
The Megalithic Stonework at Baalbek Is Astonishing
Ancient astronaut theorists have made many claims supporting their theory that extraterrestrials visited the earth in antiquity and helped various civilizations construct grand architecture. One major aspect of their “evidence” is the claim that ancient people of this planet were incapable of moving monoliths—some of which weigh hundreds of tons—from one place to another and then setting them in place.
The purpose of this article is to address this issue. Were the ancient people of this planet skillful enough to create such marvels as the Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, Carnac in Brittany, Sacsayhuamán, Pumapunku, Baalbek or many others?
History of Baalbek
The human settlement at Baalbek goes back perhaps 9,000 years, which would make it roughly the same age as Jericho, one of the world’s oldest settlements. The remnants of this earliest occupation lie at the bottom of the so-called Baalbek tell.
Bible Archaeologists from the nineteenth century wanted to link Baalbek with Baalgad, as mentioned in the Book of Joshua, circa the thirteenth century B.C.E., though this connection has always been considered a weak one. Also, some Persian artifacts have been found at the site, these dating from about 500 B.C.E.
When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire in 334 B.C.E. Baalbek was named Heliopolis. Then, just before the birth of Christ, the Roman Empire took over the city during the reign of Augustus. Interestingly, the Romans created at Baalbek some of the largest religious temples in the Roman Empire, perhaps the most impressive of which is the Temple of Bacchus.
In 60 C.E., the Temple of Jupiter was completed at Baalbek. It was, at the time, the largest temple in the Roman Empire. Some of the megaliths used to make this spectacular work of architecture weigh 100 tons! The colonnade was comprised of 54 Corinthian columns, each of which more than 60 feet in length. About 530 C.E., Justinian moved eight of the columns to Constantinople. Today, only six columns remain in the temple.
The Romans also constructed the Temple of Venus at Baalbek. Offended by Venus’ sensuality, the early Christians attacked her worship whenever they got the chance. Attesting to this vilification of the Cult of Venus, Christians built a basilica or two at Baalbek.
In 673 C.E., the Muslims invaded Baalbek, overcame the Byzantine army and then established dominion over the city for centuries, building many forts in the area along the way to protect their interests.
How Were the Enormous Stone Blocks Moved Into Place?
Experts such as Roger Hopkins, Mark Lehrner and Vince Lee have tried to ascertain how the various massive stone blocks at Baalbek were moved into place. Hopkins concluded that wooden rollers were used to move the 300-ton monoliths. (Presumably this method was also used to move blocks such as the Stone of the Pregnant Woman, which can be found in the quarry and weighs over 1,000 tons!) Hopkins used this method to move stones weighing only 10 tons, but the help of over 100 people were sometimes needed. He theorized that once the stone blocks had been moved one mile from the quarry to the job site, levers and cranes were then used to lift them into place at the temples.
At times, earthen ramps may have been used to raise the blocks to higher areas, and sand would often be used to help set these immense blocks in place. (The sand was slowly drained away as the block gradually moved into the correct alignment.) Incidentally, such techniques were almost certainly used to build ancient temples and monuments during the Old Kingdom in Egypt, when the Pyramids of Giza were built, though much of this construction took place about 2,500 years earlier than what the Romans accomplished at Baalbek.
For many years, people such as Hopkins, et al. have tried to move megaliths using ancient building techniques but the results have been only minimally successful. Nevertheless, it’s been proven that these old techniques do work. We're simply not near as good at it as the ancients were!
What About Extraterrestrials?
The TV program Ancient Aliens on the History Channel has a particular point of view. On the episode entitled “Sacred Places,” ancient astronaut theorists claim that the massive stone blocks comprising the base of the temple complex at Baalbek are 9,000 years old. They also claim these blocks weigh from 800 to 2,000 tons. Actually, there are unused blocks in the nearby quarry weighing over 1,000 tons, but evidence shows the Romans used stones from this quarry, not Neolithic people some 9,000 years ago.
These theorists also claim that the base of the temple complex was - “tens of thousands of years ago,” as they describe it - used as a landing pad or spaceport for extraterrestrial spacecraft, the assumption being that these ETs built the base for this purpose. As support for this hypothesis, they say that the Epic of Gilgamesh, written about 4,000 years ago by the Sumerians, called Baalbek the landing place of the gods!
There is no evidence that spacecraft of any sort have ever been to Baalbek. Nor is there any evidence that advanced machinery was used to move and place the megaliths at the site so spaceships could land there. Furthermore, there’s no evidence that aliens taught the Persians, Greeks or Romans how to build anything at Baalbek or any other place!
No Evidence of a Spaceport
It would be truly incredible if the thousand-ton stone blocks used to make Baalbek were indeed 9,000 years old, but there’s no evidence to support the great antiquity of those monoliths. But we know that the Greeks and the Romans circa 2,000 to 2,500 years ago could move such blocks using cranes, levers and rollers. Moreover, throughout the world ancient people constructed massive stone buildings for thousands of years.
Could extraterrestrials have taught civilizations around the world how to build megalithic structures? Perhaps they simply hopped about in their flying saucers, spreading the word as it were. Judging from what ancient astronaut enthusiasts assert, you’d think this is actually what happened!
Be that as it may, even if it could be proven that any of the stone blocks at Baalbek are 9,000 years old, there’s no proof that Baalbek at any point in time was used as a spaceport for aliens. Now if somebody could find an extraterrestrial spaceship—maybe one that crashed near Baalbek thousands of years ago—then ancient astronaut proponents could shout, I TOLD YOU SO!
Until that time we’ll have to assume that the ancient people of earth produced all the artifacts attributed to them. They were just as capable and talented as modern people; they simply lacked our vaunted high-tech toys.
Read More From Exemplore
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Kelley Marks
Nazih on August 08, 2020:
Shame on you, how you didn't mention Phoenicians? dont you know that the Greeks learned from the Phoenicians? when you speek about Baalbek you have first to study Phoenician culture.
Believer on September 27, 2016:
Why would humans take several big and heavy stones (1000 tons) just to put them in the middle of the construction?! It is overkill if you are going to construct a fancy roman hut on the top. There must be a reason!
Your answer that "there are not evidence..." is not good enough. Many people have died by deseases caused by viruses and in that time "there were not evidence of the existance of viruses". Do you understand the comparation? The fact that YOU or WE have not evidence yet means BY NO WAY that something never happened. It only means that we still dont know and that we have searched at the wrong spots, nothing more. I believe that if someone or something took the effort of cutting and lyfting such a big stones, there must be important technical reasons. Otherwise they only have used them at ground level and never lyft them several meters over the ground. It must be a reason, independent of WHO did it. Read this: "The Liebherr LTM 11200-9.1, built by the German company Liebherr Group, is the most powerful mobile crane ever built. It also has the longest telescopic boom in the world, which extends fully to 100 meters. It’s set on a double cab truck and can lift 1200 metric tons". I assume your roman friends had this kind of trucks...
Maruthiprasad Chintala on August 11, 2014:
As I read it is built there with the help of Yogic science of India,lotus designs in the structures is the spiritual symbolism of India.
For further understanding, read ISHA blog
meangene7 on August 10, 2014:
I can't help but concur with "blackberry" on the ancient beings. The Bible in The Book of Enoch tells off the fallen angels and how they begat a race of giants and how they had to remain constantly busy building something or they began warring with one another. Common sense would tell anyone (from an engineering standpoint) that you can't move thousand plus ton stones with mere ropes. First, in order to make them strong enough they would have to be about a foot in diameter ( too big to grasp) second, using smaller size ropes would require so many ropes that you would run out of space to attach a number of them sufficient to move the weight. Next, there is no tree on this planet that has ever existed that could sustain a weight in excess of a thousand tons even if joined by a few dozen other trees utilized as rollers. On top of these facts there is the fact that the terrain between the quarry and the temple is uneven and rocky. Stones weighing a few hundred tons are much smaller and could make the journey but the Stone of the Pregnant Woman for instance is appx. 14' H x 14' W x 68' L. Why these aspects of necessities for construction are overlooked so easily is beyond my comprehension. In reference to the giants I mentioned earlier, the Greek myths told of the Titans, beings of enormous size and stature. Joshua's spies sent to recon the Promised Land said they appeared to be "as grasshoppers in their sight" when referring to the inhabitants of the same area where Baalbek is located. Why would they lie?
blackberry on April 12, 2013:
There are many ancient writings that speak of beings from the sky.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on December 21, 2012:
Thanks for the link, schaffelaar. The Romans were smart enough to build just about anything conceivable in those times and using a canal or two certainly makes sense. The ancient Egyptians also used water transport to great advantage as well. Hey, we don't need no damn aliens helping us. Later!
schaffelaar on December 21, 2012:
May be this idea can help you to find an answer to the problem of the transport of the Baalbek foundation stones.
See next link:
bob parker on September 30, 2012:
It was a giant temple , the colums are still there. The romans tried to rebuild what was already there in ruins. rather pooly i might addAdd Your Comment...
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on August 20, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, DanSullivan. Yes, future discoveries are always worth waiting for. Later!
DanSullivan on August 18, 2012:
The ancients were as intelligent as we are, they just didn't have the heavy equipment. They used ropes and manpower. Does that mean that we are less intelligent than the ancients? We can't begin to move a trilithon stone with just ropes and manpower. I don't eliminate any of the possibilities. We still have some major discoveries waiting in our future.
Gary on May 24, 2012:
Its a part of who we are today and the future so understanding the past and learning the utmost facts of the past and the beginning of everything is i think what the human beings of the present is failing to do......
JackPaige on April 02, 2012:
The above link offers strong evidence that the Romans built on top of an already existing, and perhaps much older platform. I'm not suggesting that it was an alien space port at all. I'm just fascinated with the scale and magnitude of constructing it...especially the Trilithon. You have to ask yourself the question "why would they use such huge stones?" Our modern cranes would have a difficult time performing this task. It must have been well within the realm of their cabalities. Roman engineers would likely have opted for more managable stones. And the truth of the matter is that no one really knows or has offered a plausable explanation as to how these massive stones were moved. So the point is: a technology or methodology for moving great stones existed in ancient times and is now unknown to us, or they had help. I'll go with the aforementioned but I won't close the book on the latter. You never know...
x3ntr1x on March 09, 2012:
PLEASE DON'T ATTRIBUTE THESE STRUCTURES TO ALIENS OR ET'S. THERE'S A LOT OF ANCIENT WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE THAT MODERN MAN CANNOT EXPLAIN. WHY CAN'T WE JUST LEAVE THEM ALONE AND RESPECT THE CULTURES OF OUR ANCESTORS!
If you're wondering how they move such huge structures. In our culture there are few dedicated priests who can move these giant stones by prayers. Burial caves that contain the bones of ancestors have an opening stone so huge that it's impossible to move it 1 mm by a 100 people. The priest prays and the stone starts floating in the air and moves. I've witnessed this event and huge megaliths spinning 1 feet off the ground only by prayer!!
I'd like to mention that our people have erected megaliths and monoliths from the past which are thought to be impossible to be moved even by a 100 people. In some, the ashes of the dead person are deposited in cairns or cenotaphs.
Even today, those remaining monoliths and stone structures are used by believers since: one can hear the whispers of ancient ancestors and receive spiritual wisdom and knowledge by sitting on them, hugging them or placing one's ears to the stone. They are considered a source of spiritual energy linking the person to our heavenly brethren.
Our culture believes that in the past there was a GOLDEN BRIDGE on the peak of a particular mountain in my region called LUMSOHPETBNENG (in our lagnuage means Navel of heaven) It was eerie when I found out CUZCO built by the Incas meant NAVEL OF THE EARTH!!
It was a direct link to our heavenly brothers and sisters called the Khyndaiskum (the heavenly nine huts people). But man later sinned and this bridge was destroyed by man and we were left only with the seven huts; losing contact with the heavenly hynniewskum; who'd frequently visit earth to impart knowledge and spiritual wisdom.
PLEASE DON'T DESTROY ALL THE PRICELESS HERITAGE OF OUR TRIBAL CULTURES ALL OVER THE WORLD BY ATTRIBUTING THEM TO ALIENS!!
A native of Meghalaya, INDIA (South East Asia)
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on February 29, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, chamilj. It's fun to think aliens were involved in the construction of Baalbek, but it almost certainly never happened. Later!
chamilj from Sri Lanka on February 28, 2012:
I do believe there was an Alien involement with this kind of places on earth during those days.
Interesting article. Voted up!
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on February 28, 2012:
Yeah, JoeKing12356, the Romans were smart, but not smart enough to build spacecraft, and if aliens had come here with their own, don't you think the Romans would have written about it?... Later!
JoeKing12356 on February 28, 2012:
"There is no evidence that spacecraft of any sort have ever been to Baalbek. Nor is there any evidence that advanced machinery was used to move and place the megaliths at the site so spaceships could land there. Furthermore, there's no evidence that aliens taught the Persians, Greeks or Romans how to build anything at Baalbek or any other place!" -There is no evidence that they didn't either...If lost sonic tech. was used there would be no evidence. Why would the romans need such a robust foundation for a "religious" temple anyway? 1000 ton blocks? come on...for what purpose? They were smarter than that according to your article.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on November 21, 2011:
Well, I guess Sitchin is one smart fellow. Frankly, I think some of these guys are so smart they're dense. Then again, I'm just a guy who writes hubs. Later!
ACLinn on November 18, 2011:
No, Kosmo. Zecharia Sitchin was (and is) a genius in his sphere. And what I think everyone who may question his works; and expert-deciphering of Sumerian/Akkadian: Babylonian/Assyrian cuneiform on clay tablets. Is whether, they themselves, simply lack the brain (and/or) mind capacity to understand it?
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on November 18, 2011:
Many books have been written about the possibility of ancient astronauts and I suppose "The Lost Book of Enki" is another one of those and/or perhaps source material for others. I read one of Sitchin's other books, "The Twelveth Planet," I think it was. Simply put, I think this speculation is just too far-fetched. Nevertheless, the subject fascinates me. Later!
ACLinn on November 18, 2011:
The original platform at Baalbek, built by our extraterrestrial ancestors, was most certainly a 'landing place' for spacecraft. And the (must-read) contents of The Lost Book of Enki - obtainable here:
will not only amaze and astound, but also answer everyone's questions, and ultimately inform and enlighten.
Egia on October 13, 2011:
The truth eludes us.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on September 09, 2011:
Thanks for the comment, Lynda. I hope you've had a pleasant summer. Anyway, one of the reasons I love ancient history and archaeology is because those ancient folks were so damn good - and they weren't from another planet. But people seem fascinated by the subject matter, so I keep writing hubs about it. Later!
lmmartin from Alberta and Florida on September 09, 2011:
We may never know for sure, Kosmo. In fact I hope not. I love the mystery and wonder of these unanswered conundruns -- keeps us humble. Thanks for an interesting read. Lynda
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on September 09, 2011:
You're right, tsadjatko, nobody has proven that aliens exists. Nevertheless, ancient astronaut theorists speak of them as if their existence was a certainty. I guess they've seen too many sci-fi movies.
And, Cardisa, I'm glad you think the ancients were skillful enough to produce such wonders as Baalbek. Later!
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on September 09, 2011:
I often wonder how such constructions were undertaken without the modern technology of today. I want to believe that our ancestors had skills we don't know about. Thanks for sharing.
HomerMCho on September 09, 2011:
Wonderful story, Kosmo. Thanks.
The Logician from then to now on on September 08, 2011:
"there’s no proof that Baalbek at any point in time was used as spaceport for aliens."
Don't you think we should start with THERE IS NO PROOF THAT ALIENS EXIST? before we speculate on how non existant aliens travel?
PETER LUMETTA from KENAI, ALAKSA on September 08, 2011:
An interesting story Kosmo, Thanks for the read,