Where’s the Square?
Sidebar to: Locating the Original Temple Mount
How did Leen Ritmeyer locate the original Temple Mount platform? This plan highlights the clues he used to identify each corner of the square structure. Unlike earlier researchers, who started with their understanding of where the Temple stood and then tried to outline the platform around it, Ritmeyer first assembled archaeological clues to pinpoint the square Temple platform. Only then did he venture to locate the Temple itself.
The Telltale “Step”: Ritmeyer noted two anomalies about the bottom step of the staircase at the northwest corner of the Muslim platform: it consists of pre-Herodian building blocks and it is parallel not to the Muslim platform but to the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. Ritmeyer wondered if this step was actually part of an early wall. He also noted that a line drawn to the east from the northern edge of these blocks passes along a rock scarp (a sheared-off rock ledge) before meeting the eastern wall. The length of this line is 861 feet equal to 500 royal cubits by the 20.67 inches-per-cubit measure. Five hundred cubits is the measurement given in an ancient Jewish source for each side of the Temple platform.
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