Daily Archives: February 12, 2010

Ritmeyer on Solomon’s Temple

Dr. Leen Ritmeyer is well known for his archaeological work and his architectural designs. Ritmeyer Archaeological Design provided illustrations for the ESV Study Bible. A few years ago I was privileged to hear Ritmeyer discuss the evidence that led him to his conclusion about the location of Solomon’s temple. Recently he spoke at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on the same subject. A well-written account of this lecture is available at the NOBTS here.

Here are a few excepts from the report of that lecture:

Leen Ritmeyer. Photo by F. Jenkins.

Leen Ritmeyer. Photo by F. Jenkins.

Without digging a single shovel of dirt, archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer found the location of Solomon’s Temple using a keen eye, biblical and historical knowledge and a tape measure.

Later, Ritmeyer became one of the leading scholars in Temple Mount research. And it all started with one unique stone….

For many years, Ritmeyer served as surveyor and field-architect of the archaeological expedition at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as well as throughout the Jewish Quarter….

According to Ritmeyer, the original Temple Mount platform measured 500 cubits by 500 cubits. The “royal cubit” used for the Temple was 20.67 inches long. Later, King Herod expanded the platform on the Temple Mount doubling its size. It is the expanded, Herodian platform that tourist in Jerusalem visit today.

The current platform has two levels. Eight staircases lead from the lower level to the higher level where the Muslim Dome of the Rock stands.

Because the Muslims who control the Temple Mount will not allow excavations, Ritmeyer relied on observational skills as he search for the location of the Solomon’s Temple. And on the surface of the platform, he found his breakthrough.

At the bottom of a staircase in the northwest corner of the higher section, Ritmeyer noticed a stone with a unique chiseled edge. The stone resembled the pre-Herodian blocks visible on the eastern wall of the platform. He also noted that the stone was not aligned with the rest of the raised platform.

Ritmeyer believed this stone was not placed there as a step, but was actually part of the original Temple platform wall built by King Hezekiah (8th Century B.C.). Such a find would be helpful in locating the original Temple.

“This step was the archaeological beginning of my research into the pre-Herodian Temple Mount,” Ritmeyer said.

Books, CDs, and digital images by Dr. Ritmeyer are available at his website here. Look under Product Categories. I have appreciated the opportunity to download the drawings of Solomon’s Temple when needed for a class or sermon.