Abacus
The flat element on top of a capital.
Aditus Maximus
Entrance to orchestra of a Roman theater
Adyton
Innermost sacred room of a temple; the cella.
Aedicula
Small shrine composed of columns supported by a pediment.
Ambo
Elevated pulpit in the main hall of a church.
Apodyterium
Dressing room in a gymnasium or bath.
Apse
Semicircular area, usually at the east end of a church.
Architrave
Lintel resting on columns
Area
A large space that divides the site into places of concentration.
Artifacts
Smaller finds discovered during an archaeological dig.
Ashlar
Cut stone used in building construction.
Assemblage
Different sorts of architecture and/or artifacts found together in situ.
Baldachin
Ceremonial canopy over an altar, throne, or doorway.
Balk
A one-meter-wide wall separating 5 x 5-meter or 10 x 10 meter squares.
Bamah
See High Place.
Bema
Raised platform; a rostrum from which orators addressed the people; the platform from which clergy spoke in early churches.
Betyl/Baetyl
Aniconic representation of a god, in the form of a standing stone.
Bouleuterion
Meeting place for the city council.
Burnish
A technique of polishing or decorating pottery by applying pressure with a tool (bone, shell, stick, etc.) to all or part of the vessel prior to firing in a kiln.
Caceres
The stalls behind the starting gates in a hippodrome.
Cairn
A mound of stones usually covering a burial; same as tumulus.
Caldarium
Hot room in a bath complex.
Cardo Maximus
Road running north-south in a Roman city.
Casemate Wall
Defensive wall made from two parallel walls, which are divided by short partitions into rooms.
Castellum
A Roman fortress; or a holding tank of water.
Cavea
Auditorium of a theatre.
Cella
Holiest room of a temple, usually holding the cult image.
Columbarium
A niched area used for raising pigeons or doves.
Crepidoma
Stepped platform that serves as a foundation for a temple.
Decumanus
Main street in Roman city perpendicular to the Cardo.
Diaconicon
The chamber, or side chapel, on the south side of a church, which served as the vestry.
Diazoma
Horizontal passage in the cavea of a theatre.
Debir
Cella or holiest room of a temple.
Dolmen
Stone table used for burial or other religious purposes.
Domus
Prayer hall in a church or synagogue.
Entablature
Stonework that rests on a row of columns, including an architrave, frieze, and cornice.
Exedra
Semicircular or rectangular recess or alcove in a building, usually with benches.
Fill
Debris or soil used for the purpose of filling pits or leveling the ground.
Fosse
Dry moat that is dug around the perimeter of a city wall.
Four-room House
Typical Iron Age dwelling consisting of three long rooms, perhaps separated by pillars, with a broad room across the back.
Frigidarium
Cold room in a bath complex.
Grid
A systematic plan for recording finds and features along a horizontal plane, with letters for one direction of squares, and numbers for the other direction (e.g. Square G47).
Hekal
Central hall of a temple, preceding the debir.
High Place
Sacred area distinct from a temple in which ritual or cultic activity takes place.
Horizon
A term usually used to designate a broad chronological period or cultural phase.
Horreum
Public warehouse, often including or used in reference to a granary.
Hypocaust
Chamber by which heat from a furnace is distributed throughout a building.
Hypostyle
Pillared hall in which the roof rests on the columns.
In situ
Something found undisturbed in its original context.
Laconicum
A dry sweat room in a bath.
Locus (pl. loci)
Latin for place, it is a discrete archaeological feature usually in association with architecture, such as a room, a floor, a wall, etc.
Macellum
A market place distinct from the agora.
Massebah
Standing or erect stone that functions as a symbol of a divine being.
Menhir
An upright stone with religious significance; the same as a massebah.
Miqveh
A pool of standing water used for ritual purification.
Narthex
The portico of a church or basilica.
Naos
See Cella.
Nave
Central hall in a basilica, separated off by a row of columns.
Nefesh
Rock-cut memorial, symbolizing the dead.
Odeion
Small Roman theatre or music hall.
Offset/Inset Wall
Wall with projecting and receding sections
Opus Quadratum
Rectangular stones used to face cast concrete walls.
Opus Reticulatum
Square stones set on a 45 degree angle used to face cast concrete walls.
Opus Sectile
Roman style of floors and walls with cut pieces of polychrome stone, usually marble, to make patterns and figures.
Ostracon
A pottery sherd that bears an inscription, either incised or in ink.
Parados
Space between the cavea and the stage of a theatre.
Palaestra
Public area for training athletes.
Parekklesion
Subsidiary chapel attached to the side of a Byzantine church.
Pastophoria
Rooms that flank the apse of a basilica.
Patiche
A small handpick.
Pediment
Triangular upper part of the front of a building, generally surmounting a portico of columns.
Peribolus
Wall or colonnade surrounding a sacred precinct.
Peripteral
Applied to an edifice surrounded by a row of columns.
Peristyle
Row of columns surrounding a court or building.
Phase
A stage in ongoing development within a stratum (level), such as a renovation project, which may include various sub-phases.
Pilaster
An upright pier that is like a column and projects from a wall.
Pompeian Frescoes
First Style: Fresco with painted rectangular panels to imitate marble slabs.
Portico
Row of two or three columns standing in the entrance or in front of a building.
Praefurnium
Furnace for a bath.
Praetorium
Building in which the Roman commander resides.
Principia
The headquarters of a Roman fortress, where the administration of the legion took place.
Pronaos
Porch of a temple.
Propylon
Entrance to a sacred area.
Proteichisma
A wall that surrounds a tower.
Prothesis
The pastophoria, or side chapel, on the north side of a church where the Eucharist was prepared.
Pteroma
Space between the lateral walls of the naos or cella and the peristyle columns of a temple.
Rampart
Earthen mound piled up around a city as a fortification.
Reliquary
Receptacle for sacred relics.
Saqiyah
Water lifting device.
Scaena
Stage building of a Roman theatre.
Scaenae frons
Scene building behind the stage of a Roman theatre.
Schole
Room for leisure or rest.
Seriation
The ordering of pottery (usually) according to relative chronology.
Skeuophylakion
Room where sacred object of the Eucharist where stored and prepared for ritual.
Slip
A thin veneer of fine clay applied to a vessel before firing.
Solea
Platform on which the lector stands in a church.
Square
A 5 x 5-meter or 10 by 10-meter unit on the site that corresponds with the grid; squares are usually separated from one another by one-meter walls (see balk).
Stoa
Building with one or more sides consisting of a colonnade.
Stratigraphy
The mapping and analysis of the discrete levels of a site.
Stratum
A coherent level of habitation at some period in the life of a site.
Stylobate
Base or foundation on which a colonnade is placed; the top step of a crepidoma.
Sudatorium
Steam room of a bath complex.
Synthronon
Bench on which the priests and bishop sit.
Tell / Tel
Mound constructed from the accumulation of debris from successive human occupations.
Tempietto
Small temple.
Tepidarium
Warm room of a bath complex, with a lukewarm water bath.
Tetrakionion
Four pedestals at the juncture of two cross-streets.
Tetrastyle
Portico of four columns.
Triclinium
Roman style dining room with three couches arranged in a U-shape.
Triglyphs
Blocks with three verticle channels, used to decorate a frieze.
Tumulus
A mound of stones, usually covering a burial.
Typology
The study and classification of types, usually pottery.
Voussoir
A stone that forms one of the units of an arch.
Xenon
Hotel.