The Location of Solomon’s Temple

In a lecture at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer said that he has found the location of Solomon’s Temple.

The following is an excerpt from Ritmeyer’s lecture as published by Baptist Press:

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 tourists in Jerusalem visit today.


From information in the Mishnah, he theorized that the temple stood where the Dome of the Rock shrine now stands. If so, the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant would have rested on the rock inside the Dome of the Rock. Though some archaeologists dispute his claims, Ritmeyer presents a compelling case for his view.

The Mishnah stated that the temple was not located in the center of the 500 cubit by 500 cubit platform but was slightly northwest of center. This gave credence to his view. Ritmeyer then looked for confirmation on the surface of the rock.

The archaeologist saw that the large rock had numerous cuts, lines and indentions on its surface. Many other archaeologists had rejected the rock as a source for clues because of the number of cuts on the surface. Not so with Ritmeyer.

“I look at every stone on the Temple Mount as archaeological evidence,” Ritmeyer said.

Ritmeyer searched for marks consistent with the information he knew about the Holy of Holies. Again, he relied on the Bible, historical records and a tape measure to test his theory. He speculated that some of the cuts were made to level the site for the temple’s foundation.

Ritmeyer knew the dimensions of the Holy of Holies from 1 Kings 6 — 20 cubits by 20 cubits. He also knew the thickness of the walls. Ritmeyer discovered that cuts on the rock matched the thickness of the walls and the width of the room. He also found cuts made for the back wall of the Holy of Holies.

Another rectangular mark caught Rimeyer’s attention. He believed that this depression was the place the Ark of the Covenant stood in Solomon’s Temple. Ritmeyer went to Exodus 25 for the ark’s dimensions — two and a half cubits by a cubit and a half. Using photographs and computers to measure the depression, scholars have found that the cut measures two and a half cubits by two cubits -– ample space to receive the ark.

Ritmeyer has presented a compelling argument for finding the original location of Solomon’s temple.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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