The earliest in records are those represented in the paintings of some Egyptian tombs, in which they are shown as single or double doors, each in a single piece of wood. Doors were once believed to be the literal doorway to the afterlife, and some doors leading to important places included designs of the afterlife. In Egypt, where the climate is intensely dry, there would be no fear of their warping, but in other countries it would be necessary to frame them, which according to Vitruvius (iv. 6. ) was done with stiles (sea/si) and rails (see: Frame and panel): the spaces enclosed being filled with panels (tympana) let into grooves made in the stiles and rails. The stiles were the vertical boards, one of which, tenoned or hinged, is known as the hanging stile, the other as the middle or meeting stile. The horizontal cross pieces are the top rail, bottom rail, and middle or intermediate rails. The most ancient doors were made of timber, such as those referred to in the Biblical depiction of King Solomon's temple being in olive wood (I Kings vi. 31-35), which were carved and overlaid with gold. The doors dwelt upon in Homer would appear to have been cased in silver or brass. Besides olive wood, elm, cedar, oak and cypress were used. A 5,000-year-old door has been found by archaeologists in Switzerland.
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