Trilithon

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Trilith in Stonehenge
Trilithon entrance, Mnajdra temple, Malta

A trilithon (or trilith) is a structure consisting of two large vertical stones (posts) supporting a third stone set horizontally across the top (lintel). It is commonly used in the context of megalithic monuments. The most famous trilithons are those of Stonehenge in England and those found in the Megalithic temples of Malta, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The word trilithon is derived from the Greek "having three stones" (τρι-/tri- 'three' + λίθος/lithos 'stone') and was first used by William Stukeley.

The term also describes the groups of three stones in the Hunebed tombs of the Netherlands and the three massive stones forming part of the wall of the Roman Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek, Lebanon. Far from Europe and the Middle East, another famous trilithon is the Haʻamonga ʻa Maui in Tonga, Polynesia.


Baalbek[edit]

A group of three horizontally lying giant stones which form part of the podium of the Roman Jupiter temple of Baalbek, Lebanon, go by the name "trilithon". Weighing ca. 800 tons each,[1] they are among the largest ancient monoliths and even of the whole of history. The supporting stone layer beneath features a number of stones which are still in the order of 350 t.[1] In the quarry nearby, two Roman building blocks, which were intended for the same podium, even surpass 1,000 t, lying there unused since their extraction in ancient times.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Adam 1977, p. 52
  2. ^ Ruprechtsberger 1999, pp. 7–56

Sources[edit]

  • Adam, Jean-Pierre (1977), À propos du trilithon de Baalbek: Le transport et la mise en oeuvre des mégalithes, Syria 54 (1/2): 31–63, doi:10.3406/syria.1977.6623 
  • Ruprechtsberger, Erwin M. (1999), Vom Steinbruch zum Jupitertempel von Heliopolis/Baalbek (Libanon), Linzer Archäologische Forschungen 30: 7–56 
  • Yule, Paul A. (2014), Cross-roads – Early and Late Iron Age South-eastern Arabia, Abhandlungen Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft 30: 73–77 

See also[edit]