Standing stone tablet used in the ancient world primarily as a grave marker but also for dedication, commemoration, and demarcation. Though the stele's origin is unknown, a stone slab was commonly used as a tombstone in Egypt, Greece, Asia, and the Mayan empire. In Babylon, the Code of Hammurabi was engraved on a tall stele. The largest number of stelae were produced in Attica, chiefly as grave markers. The dead were represented on the stelae as they were in life: men as warriors or athletes, women surrounded by their children, and children with their pets or toys.
Learn more about stele with a free trial on Britannica.com.