Stone Glossary

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Term Definition

The uppermost component of a classical column, most often a plain square slab but sometimes embellished.


Elevated symbolic center of a Greek city-state, bringing together its most important sacred and civic buildings in one urban space, invariably on a high plateau. The most famous is the Acropolis in Athens, which is centered around the Parthenon, the great white marble temple of Athena Parthenaos, the city-state's namesake deity.


A canopied niche framed by colonettes, resembling a temple and intended as a shrine or votive offering; a doorway or window flanked by a pair of columns and topped by a pediment.


A variegated type of quartz showing colored bands or other markings (clouded, moss-like, etc.)


The sand, gravel or stone which is mixed with cement and water to make concrete.


A circular or elliptical arena enclosed by rising tiers of stone seats around a central open area used by the Romans for circuses and gladiatorial contests. Ancient Greek amphitheaters were typically semi-circular and set into the hillside.


Metal rod, wire, or strap that secures stone or other masonry to structural framework, backup wall, or other elements, or holds stone units together. Types for stone work include:

FLAT STOCK: strap, cramps, dovetail and dowel, strap and dowel, and 2-way anchors. CORRUGATED: corrugated wall ties and dovetail anchors. ROUND STOCK: rod cramp, rod anchor, eye bolt and dowel, flathook wall tie and dowel, dowel and wire toggle bolts.

Apex Stone
Uppermost stone in a gable, pediment, pyramid, vault or dome.

A natural or applied line on a stone from which all leveling and plumbing is measured; an edge at the intersection of two planes; the ridge between adjoining flutes on a classical column.


Building stone that has been smooth cut, or dressed, into squared or rectangular blocks.

Back Arch

A concealed arch carrying the backing of a wall where the exterior facing is carried by a lintel.


One of a series of miniature columns or short uprights used to support a hand rail or coping, as in a balustrade.


Buildings are often divided into repetitive spatial elements, or bays, defined by the space between two adjacent columns or other vertical supports.


(1) In granites or marbles, a layer or sheet of the rock mass that is horizontal, commonly curved and lenticular, as developed by fractures. Sometimes applied also to the surface of parting between sheets.

(2) In stratified rocks, the unit layer formed by sedimentation; of variable thickness, and commonly tilted or distorted by subsequent deformation; generally develops a rock cleavage, parting, or jointing along the planes of stratification.

(3) The top or bottom of a joint, or natural bed/surface of stone parallel to its stratification.

Belt Course

A continuous horizontal course of flat stones marking a division in the wall plane.


When the angle between two sides is greater or less than a right angle.


A hard sandstone of characteristic blue, gray and buff colors quarried in the states of New York and Pennsylvania.

Bond Stone

Used in varying percentages to anchor or bond a stone veneer to a backing material. Bond stones are generally cut to twice the bed thickness of the material being used.

Border Stone

Usually a flat stone used as an edging material; generally used to retain the field of a terrace or platform.


A carved stone positioned at the apex of a ribbed vault.