Image source: Jupiter Images
Baalbek Stone of the Pregnant Woman:
Unbelievably Massive Stone in the Quarry Near Baalbek, Lebanon.
The Baalbek trilithon is a set of three
massive stone blocks which are part of the foundation of the Temple
of Jupiter Baal ("Heliopolitan Zeus") in Baalbek.
They are so large that people cannot imagine how they were cut and
transported to the site. As impressive as these three stone blocks
are, though, there is a fourth block still in the quarry which is
three feet longer than the blocks in the trilithon and which is
estimated to weigh 1,200 tons. Locals have named it Hajar el Gouble
(Stone of the South) and Hajar el Hibla (Stone of the Pregnant
Woman), with the latter apparently being the most popular.
The Baalbek Thinker and the Frog
by Rossi d'Providence
Stymied by the trilithons (those Baalbek megalithes) being
positioned together with such precision I sat on a log in the plush
forest and refused to budge until I had figured out exactly how
these feats were performed in a time when there were little means to
do so. After many hours of thinking and then thinking some more I
felt like I had taken on a task too big for my simple mind.
Just then as my eyes were rolling in confusion I noticed a frog had
sat himself down beside me and openly began snickering at my
attempting to unravel the mysteries of Baalbek.
I asked him, why are you snickering at me?
He answered, because you cannot see the forest for the trees.
What does that mean, I asked him?
Well, he replied, think of what was available to the stonemasons in
What were their surroundings.
Forests of Lebanese cedar trees, I responded, among other simple
objects. Rope too, and stone.
Fine, he said. Now apply all those items and there is your answer.
Tell me more, I pleaded with him, for I still cannot put the three
Well, he said, I will help you to the extent I am able, but there is
a point at which you have to use your own mental abilities and
imagination to complete the task of moving and placing the stones.
Go on, please, I begged him.
The frog smiled at me then told me to imagine that I had two smaller
stones rectangular as an example. If I had plumbed the vertical of
the facing sides to be united and put them near each other I would
have half the battle won. Now if I were to put logs between the two
stones and wet them down well, the wood would expand and one of the
stones would move away from the other by the force of the wet
expanding wood. Yet in this way you would have no control on the
movement of the direction of expansion, so let us hypothetically
weigh one of the stones down with another stone of near weight of
the one I wish to move, and the wet expanding wood would cause the
free stone to move in a direction away from its weighed-down partner
stone and in the direction of choice.
So, in other words, I tried to understand the frog's logic, this
process of expanding wood would in effect move the free stone a good
distance toward the stone of which I am trying to unite it with.
Wow, that is a simple method for moving the stones in close
quarters, I am amazed, I wouldn't need so many workers to do this,
Correct, said the frog.
But what if the stones I united were to come together off kilter?
The frog again smiled and said, then do the same thing on the side
of the stones to nudge them together for a better fit. At that he
leaped away. Quickly I ran after him, hey wait, I have more
questions, I called to him. I'll bet you do, the frog chuckled.
Please, come sit with me a bit more so I can get my head settled
about this matter.
For instance, how did they lift the stones into position?
Tsk, tsk, he replied, take the word "lift" out of the equation - nobody
can lift those stones in those ancient times. Keep in mind they were
put in place thousands of years before the Romans, with their
advancements, came upon them.
Then how, I pleaded?
Okay, the frog relented. In the pyramids there are writings on the
inside walls left by the gangs who built those monuments - they say,
"Khufu's boys were here", “This is the work of Khufu’s gang”, etc.
let me stress that when the pyramids towers were built and these
Baalbek stones were put into place there was no written language, no
writing at all, only what we call 'pictographs'. Especially no
language among the lowly peasant stonemasons and farmers working in
the worst conditions to eke out a living for their families, or
slaves even. Their language was the stone itself.
They, the workers, talked to the historian of the future with the
stones they worked. Now, think of the Aswan stone lying in the niche
out of which it was carved. Think of that massively long stone lying
there, not as a stone, but as a volume of words and directions, for
it was left there not as a mistake as the university educated grave
robbers would have you think, it was left there to convey the
methods used in all the mega-stones ever dug up and erected. Aswan
is a book of knowledge written or formed where there was no
Wow, I replied. So what you are saying, I pressed on, is that all my
question’s answers are in that quarry. Exactly, he smiled.
But that doesn't answer my simple question of how the Baalbek stones
were put into place so exactly, so precisely, remember, I am just a
human being, not a wise frog. Okay, let's go back to the beginning,
he led me back to the log where we again sat down together.
Whenever you want to match up two large stones always reduce the
surface area to be matched. If you try to match one huge stone to
another they will never fit together perfectly, or at lease the job
is made more difficult merely by the size of the stones. And
remember, stones breath and stretch and contract just like all other
matter. So, to lessen the matching area plumb the sides to be united
very perfectly - this must be done precisely so that all sides of
the stones will show no spaces between them once they come together,
then gently hollow out one stone just barely noticeably without
going near the edges of the four sides. the two stones will then fit
together nicely and seem as though the two sides are a perfect
surface match. You can nudge them into a tight fit by the wet wood
method or use another method if you can conjure up one. Remember the
Aswan quarry, simple wood wedges were going to be used to 'raise'
that enormously heavy stone away from its mountain connection. They
were moving that massive stone vertically, your task is to move the
stones horizontally - a much simpler process indeed.
Wow, I again show amazement at this frog's knowledge. How did we
move the Baalbek stones from their quarry to the monument, I then
questioned this amazing frog?
Well, he replied, that is the easy end of the project . . . think of
the wet wood process for releasing the stones from the quarry, clear
one side of the intended stone, run a line down that length, install
the wood wedges, wet them well and knock away the debris, then do
the same on all three remaining sides, then the under-carriage which
will free the rectangular stone. Stone quarries today use the same
method. Then, as far as getting these puppies to the site - keep in
mind, these men were masters with rope and wood, sailors they were,
hearty sailors who lived on the seas with nothing more at their
disposal than the rope and wood before them, so when they were
called up to move these mega-stones they just simply moved the
stones. The task was a might simpler than hoisting ship's rigging in
a raging storm while being tossed about like a cork on water. Just a
walk in the park to these salty gents.
Frog, I love the way you talk, please tell me more. How did these
'sailors' move these massive blocks of stones from the quarry?, I
pressed him on.
Well, he said, they really didn't finish the stones at the quarry
since they knew the stones were going to take quite a beating on the
way to the final destination. And these sailors and stonemasons had
a way of knitting the ropes into shawls, like the shawls women
knitted for their shoulders, but these shawls were three to four
feet wide and forty to fifty feet long and inter-woven in such a way
that the rope one pulled at either end was wound throughout the
shawl so that as one end was pulled away from the other end the
weave tightened even more. They would lay these shawls along the
ground, five to six of them side by side and get the stone onto the
shawls crossways, then take the rope farthest away and bring it over
the stone toward the direction of the pull so they could heave from
the top most of the stone’s rotation towarded them, and simply roll
that puppy side over side until the shawl was used up and then redo
the process all over again, until the stone came up to the site and
was then finished off and nudged into place. So the stones never
crushed the rope when it fell onto it? Well, the frog laughed, no,
that shawl was weaved with such a fine thick rope and so tight and
the ground so soft that the stone didn't stand a chance against
these swabs. Well, I'll be, I exclaimed. What about the biggest
stone that still lies in the quarry, the 'pregnant woman stone'. Oh,
that piece of hardware, he slapped my arm. Remember the Aswan quarry
he said, no written words? They left that stone there to show ya’al
how it was done. In fact the stonemasons working on that monster
never intended it to be part of the structure of the trilithon, it
was meant to be raised to an upright position to be used as a stele
to show their might to roaming bands of invaders.
That's why it was quarried in a nearly upright position to make the
eventual raising a little easier. You don't quarry a stone on that
kind of rotational angle unless you intend to raise it upright in
its position. How do you know all these things I asked this frog?
Well, son, all you need to do is think deeply, and it will come. But
I was thinking very deeply and those answers didn't come, The frog
laughed heartily, think again, son, think again. Before you sat on
this log and attempted to think for some answers you hadn’t a clue.
Now that you did some thinking you well know the answers. How do you
tally that, son? If you didn't get to thinking so hard and so deeply
and earnestly I might never have heard you grinding the gray matter.
Hey, maybe you can tell me how Moses parted the Red Sea, I joked? He
shook his head sideways and said, hell that's just a book son,
that's just a book. Remember the writing inside the pyramid
-sometimes writing takes you off in the wrong direction, because
those who write most times never really got down and dirty with the
real thing. You can't write about Rembrandt if you can't paint like
Rembrandt, you'd just be spittin' into the wind and more then likely
misleading the reader. Just than a big ol' fly zipped by and the
frog snatched it right out of the air with his long sticky
proboscis. Yum, he said, there ain't nothing like a fat fly to take
the edge off a green fella.
Okay, okay, I settled in, there is another matter that greatly
puzzles me - the pyramids at Egypt. Let's talk about them. Did you
think on them, he asked? Well, of course I did, for many years I
thought on them. Well then, you sit here and think some more and I
assure you the answers will come.
Oh com'on, that's not fair, I argued, you got me going and now you
want to leave when your presence is so needed? Please, I begged
And he was gone, again. This time I did not know where or in which
direction he went. So, I took that frog’s advice and began thinking
very deeply on how those pyramids were built and by whom, when all
of a sudden . . .
Copyright by Rossi d'Providence
Presented with permission of the author
Seekonk, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Unfinished Obelisk - one of the red granite quarries that
provided stone for Ancient Egyptian temples and statues still holds
a giant and unfinished obelisk. The obelisk is roughly dressed and
was in the process of being 'cut free' of the surrounding rock. A
flaw in the stone developed, which is still very visible, and the
work was abandoned. It is thought that this was the pair of the
Lateran Obelisk, which is now in Rome, which originally stood before
Karnak Temple and was commissioned for Tuthmosis III.
From the chisel marks and the ancient tools found in the area,
some of the ancient quarry techniques have been determined. These
include soaking wooden blocks to encourage the rock to crack and
also using quartz sand slurry as an abrasive. The huge effort
required to free this Obelisk is staggering, especially considering
the basic tools and lack of any non-manual techniques. If the piece
was freed an equally monumental effort would have been needed to
move it 220 Km from the Quarry to the Nile, and then to Karnak.