The photonic band structure in a two-dimensional dielectric array is investigated using the coherent microwave transient spectroscopy (COMITS) technique. The array consists of alumina-ceramic rods arranged in a regular square lattice. The dispersion relation for electromagnetic waves in this photonic crystal is determined directly using the phase sensitivity of COMITS. The experimental results are compared to theoretical predictions obtained using the plane-wave expansion technique. Configurations with the electric field parallel and perpendicular to the axis of the rods are investigated. © 1992 The American Physical Society.