corbel

A structural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry a weight.

Corbelling, where rows of corbels gradually build a wall out from the vertical, has long been used as a simple kind of vaulting, for example in many Neolithic chambered cairns, where walls are gradually corbelled in until the opening can be spanned by a slab.

A very famous corbeled vault is at Newgrange:

corbelled-vault-at-newgrange

Above their heads, the ceiling rose in a corbeled vault, with the wide, square bricks arranged in overlapping layers until they met in the middle.

Definition from Wikipedia; image from arthistoryleavingcert.com

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