SAH Archipedia uses terms from the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) to categorize and classify metadata for the entries in the database. For more information on the Getty AAT, click here

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earth (soil)

Refers to soil in the context of building materials.

earth construction

Process or technique of constructing architecture or other works using earth, either by digging into the earth or by creating building materials from earth. If the earth has been fired, such as with bricks, prefer "masonry construction."

earthen architecture

Buildings and other architectural structures constructed wholly or primarily of earth. For engineering works, such as trenches, created in the earth, use "earthworks (engineering works)." For structures built on a hillside rather than into it, use "hillside architecture." For structures built under the surface of the ground, but not made primarily of earth, use "underground structures."

eastern white pine (wood)

Wood from the Pinus strobus, native to eastern North America.

ebony (wood)

A hard, heavy, durable heartwood wood yielded by various trees of the genus Diospyros in tropical Asia and Africa, valued for its dense, smooth-grain from the earliest times; was imported to Egypt from Nubia and the Sudan. It is extremely durable, resistant to rotting, fungi and powder post beetles, but difficult to work and carve. It has been used for decorative items, inlay work, black piano keys, musical instruments, and tool handles. Several other dark, heavy woods from unrelated species are also called ebony because of their color, including cocuswood, coffeewood, blue ebony, and African blackwood.

emerald (mineral)

A brilliant grass-green variety of beryl, highly prized as a gemstone. The name comes indirectly from the Greek "smaragdos," referring to a number of stones having little in common except a green color. The emerald in the the Bible was probably a garnet. However, ancient societies did also value the genuine emerald, which came from Upper Egypt as early as 2000 BCE. Greek emerald miners worked for Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. The physical properties of emerald are essentially the same as those of beryl, with only moderate light refractive and dispersive powers, meaning that cut stones display little brilliancy or fire. The gems are instead valued for their magnificent color, which is probably caused by small amounts of chromium. The stone loses colour when strongly heated. Synthetic emerald was successfully produced in the 1930s, and today is produced by a either a molten-flux process or a hydrothermal method crystal growing process. Synthetic crystals appear very similar to natural emerald crystals.

enamel (fused coating)

A semi-transparent or opaque vitreous, porcelain-like coating applied by fusion to metal, glass, or ceramic, having a glossy appearance after hardening. Enamel is typically made from powdered fusible glasses (e.g., quartz, feldspar, clay, soda, and borax) and opaque colorants (e.g., cobalt blue, tin oxide) mixed with oil or water, then painted or sprayed on the object and fired up to 800 C. Enamel is used to protect a surface, to decorate objects in various colors and patterns, to form a surface for encaustic painting, and for other purposes.

encaustic tile

Ceramic tile having a decorative pattern that is not applied by glaze, but by using multiple color clays.

engineering brick

Brick having the nominal dimensions 3 1/5 in. by 4 in. by 8 in. (8.13 cm by 10.16 cm by 20.36 cm).

English (language)

West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family that is closely related to Frisian, German, and Dutch (in Belgium called Flemish) languages. It is spoken in England and also used in many varieties throughout the world.

English bond (masonry technique)

Technique of bond in which alternating courses of all headers and all stretchers are laid, with the headers centered on the stretchers and on the joints between stretchers.

English oak (wood)

Wood of the species Quercus robur, having a coarse but straight grain that is usually a rich brown color. Flat sawn timber has a distinctive figuring while radial cut lumber has silver grain lines. The wood has a high gallic acid content that will corrode iron and other contacting metals. English oak is widely used in furniture, paneling, railway sleepers, cabinet, musical instruments, and ship building.

English walnut (wood)

Wood of the species Juglans regia, native to the Himalayas, Iran, Lebanon, Asia Minor, and Greece. It was introduced into Britain in the mid-15th century. It has a uniform, deep brown color with a medium texture and a close, straight grain. It varies considerably in color the sapwood being pale straw with grayish-brown heartwood with infiltrations of coloring producing a darker-colored streaky appearance. It is strong but easy to work and polishes to a high gloss. It is used for furniture, veneers, cabinets, paneling, gun stocks. Its burls are especially prized in the furniture trade. For the darker wood from the species Junglans nigra found in the eastern United States, use "black walnut."

epoxy resin

Type of synthetic resin used to produce adhesive that sets by chemical reaction, rather than through loss of solvent and coalescence.

Ericales (order)

Large, diverse order of dicotyledons (flowering plant having two cotyledons or seed-lobes), such as tea, persimmon, blueberry, Brazil nut, and azalea. In some older classifications, families in this order were distributed in various separate orders, such as the Ebenales order.


Continuous, curly, fine wood shavings employed as stuffing for furniture, packing material for breakable articles, and other purposes.

exterior insulation and finish system

Lightweight and economical cladding system for buildings composed of insulation and wet applied finish.

extrusive rock

Igneous rock solidified on or near the surface after being ejected explosively or extruded as lava, as contrasted with intrusive rock; characteristically finely crystalline or glassy.