How did Leen Ritmeyer locate the original Temple Mount platform? This plan highlights the clues he used to identify each corner of the square structure. Unlike earlier researchers, who started with their understanding of where the Temple stood and then tried to outline the platform around it, Ritmeyer first assembled archaeological clues to pinpoint the square Temple platform. Only then did he venture to locate the Temple itself.

The Telltale “Step”: Ritmeyer noted two anomalies about the bottom step of the staircase at the northwest corner of the Muslim platform: it consists of pre-Herodian building blocks and it is parallel not to the Muslim platform but to the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. Ritmeyer wondered if this step was actually part of an early wall. He also noted that a line drawn to the east from the northern edge of these blocks passes along a rock scarp (a sheared-off rock ledge) before meeting the eastern wall. The length of this line is 861 feet equal to 500 royal cubits by the 20.67 inches-per-cubit measure. Five hundred cubits is the measurement given in an ancient Jewish source for each side of the Temple platform.

The northern part of the eastern wall: Ritmeyer noticed an anomaly as well at his postulated northeast Temple Mount corner. The lowest course above ground in this area protrudes from the later and clearly different masonry above it. This protruding course ends at the point marked “offset” on the plan, north of the northeastern corner of the proposed square Temple Mount. Ritmeyer hypothesized that a defensive tower stood in the area between the northeast corner of the square Temple Mount and the offset. A comparable tower may have been attached at the northwest corner, between the “step” and the fosse, or moat.

The southern end of the eastern wall: A slight bend in the eastern wall helped Ritmeyer fix the southeastern corner of the square Temple Mount. The famous 19th-century explorer of Jerusalem Charles Warren recorded this bend. When Ritmeyer measured it, he found that it began exactly 500 royal cubits south of where his proposed northern wall intersects the eastern wall. Ritmeyer then drew a perpendicular line west from where the bend in the eastern wall begins and a line directly south from the “step,” yielding two sides each 500 cubits long.