Peter Grünwald, Deutsches Archäologisches Institute, Orientabteilung, Berlin

Biblical puzzle solved. A 15-foot-wide hallway wraps around three sides of the ‘Ain Dara temple. In this excavation photo, the back wall of the temple’s shrine room appears at right. Two massive basalt stele protrude from the wall. The outer corridor wall (at left) was also originally decorated with stele and reliefs.

This corridor is a unique archaeological find in second and first millennium B.C.E. temples. Yet it still has a parallel—in the Bible’s description of the Jerusalem Temple: “Against the outside wall of the House—the outside walls of the House enclosing the Great Hall and the Shrine—he built a storied structure; and he made side chambers all around … The entrance to the middle [story of] the side chambers was on the right side of the House; and a return staircase [?] led up to the middle chambers and from the middle chambers to the third story” (1 Kings 6:5, 8).

The thickness of these corridor walls at ‘Ain Dara suggests that it, too, may have supported at least one upper story. Holes in the walls of the corridors and in the antechamber may have held a wooden frame for a staircase. Like the corridor in Solomon’s Temple, the ‘Ain Dara passageway was entered through doors in the facade.