In architecture, a socle is a short plinth used to support a pedestal, sculpture or column. In English the term tends to be most used for the bases for rather small sculptures, with plinth or pedestal preferred for larger examples. This is not the case in French.
In the field of archaeology, this term is used to refer to a wall base, frequently of stone, that supports the upper part of the wall, which is made of a different material, frequently mud brick. This was a typical building practice for ancient Greece, resulting in the frequent preservation of the plans of ancient buildings only in their stone-built lower walls, as at the city of Olynthos.
- Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
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