Ancient Architectures with Post and Lintel

stonehenge as lintel

The post and lintel or trabeated system is a simple construction method that involves the use of horizontal and vertical elements. The vertical elements support the horizontal ones to form a single storey of the building. Supplementary verticals can also be placed on top of the horizontals to form structures with over one level. The method of building was significantly important for Ancient Greece’s architecture. Thanks to its utility and ease, today’s genuine lintels has remained to be the number one choice even after the introduction of newer construction methods.

Ancient Architectures in Minoan Civilization

The modern age came to know more about the Minoan civilization during the Palace Periods because of the excavations of great palace complexes that the Minoans left behind on Crete. The grand structures were completely built using the trabeated system.

Ancient Architectures in Mycenaean Civilization

During the Mycenaean Period, the architecture also relied mainly on the trabeated system. Architects of that time experimented with using lintels and posts as elements of the more intricate architecture plans. Two perfect examples of the innovation are found in the Treasury of Atreus and the Lion Gate of Mycenae.

The Lion Gate of Mycenae shows the possibility of adding an element of the post and lintel construction within a completely different context of architecture. In this specific case, the gateway made using the trabeated system is in a portion of Mycenae’s citadel walls made up of ashlar masonry or blocks of stone that have been laid out in straight lines.

The Treasure of Atreus, which is a tholos tomb, also bears the same innovations present in the Lion Gate. However, lintels were the only ones used in this case. Lintels have been inserted on top of walls made of stone blocks and serve as the top of a doorway leading to the tomb. Although not technically posts, the walls perform a similar function in architecture as they hold up the lintels.

The Trabeated System in Temple Architecture

Temples in Greece are carefully decorated, highly aesthetic, and usually monumental in scale. However, despite this complexity, the temples have been engineered with a simple trabeated system. As the Doric and Ionic were developed in the 7th century BCE, the Greek Architects continued relying on the tried and tested scheme.

Other Notable Examples of Architecture with Trabeated System

The Roman era’s Volubilis is one of the noteworthy examples of the trabeated system wherein trabeated elements lined one side of Decumanus Maximus while the other part of the roadway was designed in an arched style.

The style was also originally used in India for wooden construction. However, the technique was later on adopted for the stone structures for the decorated purely ornamented and load-bearing non-structural purposes.

Britain’s Stonehenge was constructed using the trabeated system that served as the basis of the architecture from the prehistoric up to the Roman times. Interiors of the Egyptian temples and exteriors of the Greek temples have been delineated by the stone lintel-covered columns. Greeks opted to substitute beams made from wood for stone since wood required lesser supports while opening up interior spaces.

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