Plan of the Temple of Herod. 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 is exposed in the center of the floor. But this rock mass is about 5 feet below the reconstructed floor level of Herod’s Temple.

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.