The Temple of Herod appears in a cutaway section drawing. Although the Herodian Temple Mount was probably level with al-Haram al-Sharif, the succession of steps described in Josephus and the Mishnah as leading up from the sacred precinct to the Herodian Temple suggests that the floor of the sanctuary must have been higher than that of the Dome of the Rock. In the mosque, the rock mass Al-Sakhra, from which Mohammed is said to have ascended to heaven, is exposed in the center of the floor. But, as shown in the cutaway drawing, this rock mass is about 5 feet below the reconstructed floor level of Herod’s Temple.
The monumental steps (visible in 19th-century photos) directly inside the soreg are not depicted on this cutaway because our evidence for these steps comes from the southern side of the Temple, which is not shown here. If the steps did encircle the Temple precinct on all sides, as author Jacobson suggests, the level of the Temple floor would be even higher above the rock mass al-Sakhra than is depicted. It is possible, however, that the monumental steps were not needed on all sides because of inconsistencies in the level of the bedrock supporting the Temple Mount.