Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Engineering Mystery of the Baalbek Stones

Everyone talks about Stonehenge and the Coliseum being some of the great accomplishments of the ancient world, but the Baalbek Stones in Baalbek, Lebanon are one of the great engineering and architectural mysteries in history.
The ancient Romans built some of their most impressive works in the remote area of Beqaa Valley. Roman emperors would travel over 1,500 miles to make offerings to their gods at the Temple of Jupiter—the largest and grandest to scale temple that the Romans ever constructed.
Several stones of extreme weight have been found in the ruins of this temple. The largest dressed stone block in the world, Stone of the South, weighs 1,000 tons—the equivalent of THREE Boeing 747 aircraft. The Stone also holds own mystery, as it seems abandoned, by just laying on its own, away from the other structures.
Three stones, "smaller" in comparison, weigh 800 tons each and fit together to form a wall of 20 feet.
In modern engineering, we have all sorts of tools to allow for the ease of movement of large materials. Even then, it is a calculated process with many calculations and equipment involved.
How exactly did the ancient Romans build such magnificent structures with only manpower and simple machinery? Also, not only erecting, but transporting the materials to such a remote location, remains one of the greatest engineering mysteries.