A puteal (Latin: from puteus (well) — plural: putealia) is a classical wellhead built around a water well's access opening.
The enclosure keeps people from falling down a well otherwise open at grade level. When equipped with a cast iron lid, as traditionally in the public squares, or campos, of Venice, Italy, the citizens and water supply were protected.
Putealia were used as an accessible point of water distribution, and as an aesthetic architectural element. Locations included public town squares and private courtyards.
The classical puteal is made of carved stone, often marble in Europe. They are frequently decorated with bas-reliefs of classical Greek and Roman themes around their outer faces. An Ancient Roman one was in the Puteal Scribonianum structure in the Roman Forum, nothing remains.
The term is also used for circular classical remains (spolia) recycled after antiquity into wellheads, such as the Guildford Puteal at the British Museum.