The earliest, simplest method for spanning a space is the post-and-lintel system of upright posts to support a horizontal beam, called a lintel. The width of the lintel is limited not only by its tensile strength, but also by the length of the materials possible for use as a lintel. Often, a series of posts must be used to increase the overall width of an enclosed space, creating a room encumbered by columns or wall divisions. Although most structures employ a post-and-lintel system, one of the more famous examples of the use of a post-and-lintel is Stonehenge, constructed in the Salisbury Plain of Wiltshire, England, around 2750 BC. Here, five pairs of vertical megaliths called trilithons are formed in the shape of a horseshoe, and each pair was capped by a lintel. This group was surrounded by an outer circle of megaliths capped by a continuous lintel of massive horizontal stones. Other Prehistoric structures include individual freestanding post-and-lintel stone formations found across Europe, called dolmens.
   Stone post-and-lintel structures are found throughout the Ancient Near East and Ancient Egypt, while wood was also used through-out Europe in post-and-lintel construction. By the 18th century, the replacement of stone and wood lintels by cast-iron and then steel frames has allowed for a gradual increase in unobstructed room widths that rival the size of domed interiors, yet with flat roofs and broad interiors supported by metal framing.

Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. . 2008.

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  • Post and lintel — For lintel as a decorative element see Lintel (architecture) : For beam as load bearing member see beam Post and lintel (synonymous with Post and beam and also called an Architrave [cite web year= month=… …   Wikipedia

  • post-and-lintel system — ▪ architecture       in building construction, a system in which two upright members, the posts, hold up a third member, the lintel, laid horizontally across their top surfaces. All structural openings have evolved from this system, which is seen …   Universalium

  • post and lintel —    In architecture, the simplest and oldest way of constructing an opening. Two vertical structural members called posts were used to support a horizontal member called a lintel or beam, creating a covered space …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • post and lintel — noun a structure consisting of vertical beams (posts) supporting a horizontal beam (lintel) • Hypernyms: ↑structure, ↑construction …   Useful english dictionary

  • post-and-lintel — | ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷| ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ adjective : of or relating to a system of architectural construction based on vertical supports and horizontal beams as distinguished from systems based on arches or vaults …   Useful english dictionary

  • post-and-beam system — In building construction, a system in which two upright members, the posts, hold up a third member, the beam, laid horizontally across their top surfaces. In Britain it is called post and lintel system, but in the U.S. lintel is usually reserved… …   Universalium

  • post-and-beam construction — /poʊst ən ˈbim kənstrʌkʃən/ (say pohst uhn beem kuhnstrukshuhn) noun a constructional system in which the load is borne by the posts and beams, and not by the walls. Also, post and lintel construction …  

  • Lintel (architecture) — A lintel is defined as a horizontal block that spans the space between two supports in classical western architecture. [cite web url= medart/menuglossary/lintel.htm title=Glossary of Medieval Art and Architecture Lintel… …   Wikipedia

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  • lintel — [14] Lintel is the result of the blending of two Latin words: līmes ‘boundary’ (source of English limit) and līmen ‘threshold’ (source of English subliminal and possibly also of sublime). Līmen had a derived adjective, līmināris ‘of a threshold’ …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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