Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a roof or covered space. The parts of a vault exert a lateral thrust that requires counter-resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground provides all the resistance needed. However, when the vault is built into the ground, various replacements are used to provide the necessary strength.
An example is the thicker walls used in the case of barrels or continuous vaults. Buttresses are used to provide strength when using intersecting vaults.
The simplest type of vault is the barrel vault (also called wagon or tunnel vault), which is usually semicircular in shape. The barrel vault is a continuous arch whose length is greater than its diameter. As with building an arch, temporary support is required while the piston rings are constructed and the rings are placed in place. Even the highest cornerstone is placed, the cornerstone, the vault is not self-supporting.
When wood is easily obtained, this temporary support is provided by the centering constituted by a frame framed by a semicircular or segmental head, which supports the staves until the entire ring of the arch is completed. With a barrel vault, the centering can be changed to support the next rings.
Among the earliest known examples of any form of vault is the Neolithic village of Khirokitia in Cyprus. The circular buildings supported honeycomb-shaped vaults of unbaked clay vaults and also represent the first evidence of settlements with an upper story. Similar beehive tombs, called tholoi, exist in Crete and northern Iraq. Its construction differs from that of Khirokitia in that most appear partially buried and provide for the entry of dromos.
The inclusion of domes, however, represents a broader sense of the word vault. The distinction between the two is that a vault is essentially an arch extruded in the third dimension, while a dome is an arch rotated around its vertical axis.
In a sloping brick vault, bricks are braced against an existing wall. Sloped brick vaults are named after their construction, the bricks are installed vertically (not radially) and are angled at an angle: This allows your construction to be completed without the use of centering. Examples have been found in archaeological excavations in Mesopotamia dating to the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC that were placed in gypsum mortar.