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Trilithon entrance, Mnajdra temple, Malta

A trilithon (or trilith) is a structure consisting of two large vertical stones (posts) supporting a third stone set horizontally across the top (lintel). Commonly used in the context of megalithic monuments. The most famous trilithons are those of Stonehenge in England and those found in the Megalithic temples of Malta, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The word trilithon is derived from the Greek "having three stones" (τρι- - tri- "three", λίθος - lithos' "stone") and was first used by William Stukeley.

The term also describes the groups of three stones in the Hunebed tombs of the Netherlands and the three massive stones forming part of the wall of the Roman Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek, Lebanon. Far from Europe and the Middle East, another famous trilithon is the Haʻamonga ʻa Maui in Tonga, Polynesia.


The trilithon stones of Baalbek weigh over 1000 tons, the largest of which weighs 1200 tons, making it the largest stone ever quarried by man.

See also


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