A mudbrick or mud-brick is an air-dried brick, made of a mixture of loam, mud, sand and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw. Though mudbricks are known from 7000-6000 BCE, since 4000 BC, bricks have also been fired, to increase their strength and durability.

In warm regions with very little timber available to fuel a kiln, bricks were generally sun dried. In some cases, brickmakers extended the life of mud bricks by putting fired bricks on top or covering them with stucco.

Mudbricks in Palestine 2011
New, unlaid mudbricks in the Jordan Valley, West Bank (2011)
Mudbrick was used for the construction of Elamite ziggurats—some of the world's largest and oldest constructions. Choqa Zanbil, a 13th-century BC ziggurat in Iran, is similarly constructed from clay bricks combined with burnt bricks.[1]

Ancient world

Mud-brick stamped with seal impression of raised relief of the Treasury of the Vizier. From Lahun, Fayum, Egypt. 12th Dynasty. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London
Mud-brick stamped with seal impression of raised relief of the Treasury of the Vizier. From Lahun, Fayum, Egypt. 12th Dynasty. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

The South Asian inhabitants of Mehrgarh constructed and lived in mud-brick houses between 7000–3300 BC.[2] Mud bricks were used at more than 15 reported sites attributed to the 3rd millennium BC in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. In the Mature Harappan phase fired bricks were used.[3]

Mudbricks were adopted in the Middle East from Indus Valley Cities during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period. The Mesopotamians used sun-dried bricks in their city construction; [4] typically these bricks were flat on the bottom and curved on the top, called plano-convex mud bricks. Some were formed in a square mould and rounded so that the middle was thicker than the ends.

In Minoan Crete, at the Knossos site, there is archaeological evidence that sun-dried bricks were used in the Neolithic period (prior to 3400 BC).[5]

In Ancient Egypt, workers gathered mud from the Nile river and poured it into a pit. Workers then tramped on the mud while straw was added to solidify the mold. The mudbricks were chemically suitable as fertilizer, leading to the destruction of many ancient Egyptian ruins, such as at Edfu. A well-preserved site is Amarna.[6] Mudbrick use increased at the time of Roman influence.[7]


In areas of Spanish influence, mud-brick construction is called adobe, and developed over time into a complete system of wall protection, flat roofing and finishes which in modern English usage is often referred to as adobe style, regardless of the construction method.


Great Mosque of Djenné 3
The Great Mosque of Djenné is a well-known Mosque located in Djenné, Mali, and the largest mudbrick structure in the world.

The Great Mosque of Djenné, in central Mali, is the world's largest mudbrick structure. It, like much Sahelian architecture, is built with a mudbrick called Banco,[8] a recipe of mud and grain husks, fermented, and either formed into bricks or applied on surfaces as a plaster like paste in broad strokes. This plaster must be reapplied annually.[9]

Mudbrick architecture worldwide

Mudbrick production Niger 2007

Production of mudbricks for construction in Niger, 2007.

RomaniaDanubeDelta MakingMaterialForCOnstructing0003jpg

Mudbrick is still used today, as seen here in the Romania Danube River Delta.

Zinder Old Town Niger 2007

The "Old Town" area of Zinder, Niger, with traditional painted mudbrick buildings.

Punjabi Home

A Punjabi mudbrick home in Pakistan.

Shibam Wadi Hadhramaut Yemen

Mudbrick high-rises in Shibam, Yemen.

Working mudbrick press 5

Making mudbricks near Cooktown, Australia

See also

  • Cob – Building material made from subsoil, water, and fibrous organic material
  • Earth structure – A building or other structure made largely from soil.
  • Loam – Soil composed of similar proportions of sand and silt, and somewhat less clay
  • Rammed earth
  • Sod house


  1. ^ Roman Ghirshman, La ziggourat de Tchoga-Zanbil (Susiane), Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 98 lien Issue 2, pp. 233-238, 1954
  2. ^ Possehl, Gregory L. (1996)
  3. ^ Bricks and urbanism in the Indus Valley rise and decline, bricks in antiquity
  4. ^ Mogens Herman Hansen, A Comparative Study of Six City-state Cultures, Københavns universitet Polis centret (2002) Videnskabernes Selskab, 144 pages ISBN 87-7876-316-9
  5. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Knossos fieldnotes, Modern Antiquarian (2007)
  6. ^ Hawkes, Jacquetta (1974). Atlas of Ancient Archaeology. McGraw-Hill Book Company. p. 146. ISBN 0-07-027293-X.
  7. ^ Kathryn A. Bard and Steven Blake Shubert, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, 1999, Routledge, 938 pages ISBN 0-415-18589-0
  8. ^ SACKO, Oussouby (15 November 2015). "Issues of Cultural Conservation and Tourism Development in the Process of World Heritage Preservation" (PDF). Area Studies. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  9. ^ Bradbury, Dominic (30 October 2008). "Timbuktu: Mud, mud, glorious mud". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 February 2012.


  • Possehl, Gregory L. (1996). Mehrgarh in Oxford Companion to Archaeology, edited by Brian Fagan. Oxford University Press.

External links


Adobe ( (listen); Spanish pronunciation: [aˈðoβe]) (Arabic: الطوب‎, romanized: aṭ-ṭūb) is a building material made from earth and organic materials. Adobe is Spanish for mudbrick, but in some English-speaking regions of Spanish heritage, the term is used to refer to any kind of earth construction. Most adobe buildings are similar in appearance to cob and rammed earth buildings. Adobe is among the earliest building materials, and is used throughout the world.

Alistair Knox

Alistair Samuel Knox (8 April 1912 – 30 July 1986) was an Australian designer, builder and landscape architect who used recycled materials and mudbrick in his constructions and is considered to be a pioneer of modern mudbrick building, having designed more than 1,000 houses throughout the Nillumbik region of Victoria as well as in other parts of Australia.

Banka Banka Station

Banka Banka Station is a location in the Northern Territory of Australia, 100 kilometres north of Tennant Creek along the Stuart Highway. The historic cattle station was the first operational pastoral lease in this region, and a supply camp during World War II, providing meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables. It was occupied and run by the Ward family and is still the site of a mudbrick homestead.


Hamdullahi (also Hamdallahi or Hamdallaye. From the Arabic: praise to God) was a nineteenth-century imamate in what is now the Mopti Region of Mali. Founded around 1820 by Seku Amadu, Hamdullahi served as the capital of the nineteenth-century Fula empire of Massina.

On March 16, 1862, the town fell to the Toucouleur conqueror El Hadj Umar Tall after three major battles that claimed over 70,000 lives. Umar Tall destroyed the city, marking the effective end of the Massina Empire.

The ruins of the abandoned town are located 21 km southeast of Mopti, at a site lying to the east of the Bani River and to the west of the Bandiagara plateau.

The town was encircled by sun-dried mudbrick walls and covered an area of 244 hectares (604 acres). The town walls and some of the street layout are clearly visible on satellite images provided by Google. The mosque and Seku Amadu’s palace were located side by side in the centre of the town. They were also constructed of sun-dried bricks, except for the enclosing walls of the palace, which were of stone. The mosque has been rebuilt and reopened in 2004.

Harran al-Awamid

Harran al-'Awamid (Arabic: حران العواميد‎) is a town in southern Syria, administratively part of the Rif Dimashq Governorate, located southeast of Damascus. It is situated on a plain that stretches to the marshes of Bahrat al-Qibliyah ("South Lake," the source of the Barada River) along the boundary of the fertile Ghouta region to the west, to the north of the Hauran. Nearby localities include al-Kafrin and Judaydat al-Khas to the south, al-Atibah to the northeast, al-Abbadeh and al-Qisa to the north, al-Ahmadiyah to the northwest, Sakka to the west and Ghasulah and al-Ghizlaniyah to the southwest.

According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Harran al-'Awamid had a population of 12,117 in the 2004 census. It is the administrative center and the most populous locality of the Harran al-'Awamid nahiyah ("subdistrict") which consisted of four localities with a collective population of 22,853 in 2004. The town was well known for its mudbrick architecture and three basalt columns of an ancient Roman temple, hence the name Harran al-'Awamid ("Harran of the Columns.") The columns themselves shoot out of the roof of a mudbrick building, which, along with many of the town's houses, have occupied the ruins of the temple.


Jalin (Arabic: جلين‎, also spelled Jileen or Jillin) is a village in southern Syria, administratively part of the Daraa Governorate, located northwest of Daraa. Nearby localities include Muzayrib to the southeast, Tafas to the east, al-Shaykh Saad to the northeast, Adwan to the north, Tasil to the northwest and Saham al-Jawlan and Heet to the west. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, Tasil had a population of 4,337 in the 2004 census.In sources relating to the Arab conquest of Syria, it is mentioned that the last Byzantine army the empire was able to set up in the region, took up position near "Jillin" before the crucial Battle of the Yarmuk in 635. The battle took place west of Jillin and led to the catastrophic defeat of the Byzantine army.Jalin was described in the late 19th century as an impoverished village of 20 hut-like houses built either of mudbrick or stone. Its population consisted of 100 black Africans hailing from the Sudan. They were settled in two villages, Jalin and al-Shaykh Saad to the north, by Sheikh Saad ibn Abd al-Qadir, himself from the Sudan. The Africans initially came as slaves of the sheikh, but were later freed. They gradually settled in other parts of the Hauran region of southern Syria. At Jalin, the inhabitants cultivated grapes and vegetables in nearby vineyards and gardens.


Khasekhemwy (ca. 2690 BC; Ḫꜥj-sḫm.wj, also rendered Kha-sekhemui) was the final king of the Second Dynasty of Egypt. Little is known about him, other than that he led several significant military campaigns and built the mudbrick fort known as Shunet El Zebib.

His Horus name Ḫꜥj-sḫm.wj can be interpreted "The Two Powerful Ones Appear", but the name is recorded in many variants, such as

Ḥr-Ḫꜥj-sḫm "Horus, he whose power appears",

ḫꜥj sḫm.wj ḫtp nṯrwj jm=f "the two powers appear in that the ancestors rest within him" (etc.)


Lump may refer to:

"Lump" (song), a 1995 song by The Presidents of the United States of America

Lump (compilation album), a 2000 best-of album by The Presidents of the United States of America

Lump (dog), a dog who inspired Pablo Picasso

The Lump, a 1991 animated short film

Lump hammer, a sledgehammer

Lump, a thermo-spatial unit in a lumped capacitance model of a thermal system

Swelling (medical)

Globus pharyngis, a "lump in one's throat"

Clay lump, a mudbrick

Lump, the Ober of Hearts in Schafkopf language


Mazghuna (also known as Al Mazghunah or Al-Muzghumah), 5 km to the south of Dahshur, is the site of several mudbrick pyramids dating from the 12th Dynasty. The area was explored by Ernest Mackay in 1910, and was excavated by Flinders Petrie in 1911. Amenemhet IV and Sobekneferu have been suggested as the owners of 2 unfinished pyramids at Mazghuna but there is no conclusive evidence of this. The southern pyramid is about 3 miles from Sneferu's bent pyramid. The base was 52.5 meters square but it was never finished. The outer burial chamber contains an inner monolithic burial vault made out of quartzite like the one for Amenemhet III at Hawara. There was a large granite plug ready to slide over the top however it was never used since no one was ever buried there.

There was a second pyramid planned at north Mazghuna even larger than this one but the superstructure was never begun. There was a U shaped passage leading to the burial chamber which contains another monolithic burial vault. There was scarcely 2 cm (less than 1 inch) clearance between the vault and the chamber. There was a 42-ton quartzite slab waiting to be slid over the burial chamber.


Mud is a liquid or semi-liquid mixture of water and any combination of different kinds of soil (loam, silt, and clay). It usually forms after rainfall or near water sources. Ancient mud deposits harden over geological time to form sedimentary rock such as shale or mudstone (generally called lutites). When geological deposits of mud are formed in estuaries, the resultant layers are termed bay muds.

Mudbrick stamp

The mudbrick stamp or brick seal of Mesopotamia are impression or stamp seals made upon bricks or mudbrick. The inscribed seal is in mirror reverse on the 'mold', mostly with cuneiform inscriptions, and the foundation mudbricks are often part of the memorializing of temples, or other structures, as part of a "foundation deposit", a common honoring or invocation to a specific god or protector.


Nebka (meaning "Lord of the ka") is the throne name of an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Third Dynasty during the Old Kingdom period, in the 27th century BCE. He is thought to be identical with the Hellenized name Νεχέρωχις (Necherôchis or Necherôphes) recorded by the Egyptian priest Manetho of the much later Ptolemaic period.

Nebka's name is otherwise recorded from the near contemporeanous tomb of a priest of his cult as well as in a possible cartouche from Beit Khallaf, later New Kingdom king lists and in a story of the Papyrus Westcar.

If the Beit Khallaf seal impression is indeed a cartouche of Nebka, then he is the earliest king to have thus recorded his throne name and otherwise this innovation would be due to Huni.

Nebka is thought by most Egyptologists to be the throne name of Sanakht, the third or fourth ruler of the Third Dynasty, who is sparsely attested by archaeological evidences and must have enjoyed a short reign. Older hypotheses followed two New Kingdom sources which credit Nebka with founding the Third Dynasty, a view that is now believed to contradict the archaeological evidences. The tomb of Nebka has not been located with any certainty and three locations have been proposed: a mastaba in Beit Khallaf attributed to Sanakht by John Garstang, a mudbrick structure in Abu Rawash seen as the tomb of Nebka by Swelim and Dodson, and the Unfinished Northern Pyramid of Zawyet El Aryan.

Nomadic tents

Nomadic tents are a vital source of housing for nomads living in mountainous regions of Central Asia. They are usually made from yak wool that has been hand spun into yarn and takes about a year to make a mid-sized tent.

Tibetan tents on the contrary are very thin in comparison where the sky can be seen through the hand spun yarn inside the tent. Nomad tents are held up using hand spun yak wool rope and 8 to 12 wooden poles. The top of the tent has a large opening that is used to let smoke out and to let the warm sunshine in. Prayer flags are in abundance and can be found flying from the tent roofs.

The inside of nomad tents are very basic as the nomads, often very poor, own few belongings. Inside there will be some sleeping mats and blankets, a stove, a table or two, a few extra clothes and a little food. Nearly all tents will have a picture of a local lama and often will have a picture of the 14th Dalai Lama. A thangka painting will also be found hanging inside.

Traditionally yaks are kept tied up outside of the tent using lines of rope with have 8 to 10 small loops around one of the yaks feet at night (or tied through the yak's nose) that are made secure by two wooden stakes driven into the ground. A few dogs will also be kept tied up outside the tent. Large piles of dried yak dung are stored close to the tent as an important source of fuel. It is even common to see Tibetan buddhist sculptures made in the yak dung.

Hand woven yak wool tents are declining rapidly. Many nomads now only live in these tents in the summer months. They increasingly live in mudbrick homes the rest of the year. Others are now moving into towns to live in traditional style Tibetan homes or are being relocated into cities (such as Xining) where the government provides them with a modern style apartment.

Although there the number of yak wool tents each year in Tibet and Inner China reduces every year, there are still several areas that have them in abundance. The northern regions of the Nagchu and Ngari prefectures in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Yushu prefecture in southern Qinghai and northern Ganzi prefecture in Sichuan province all have nomads still living in yak wool tents to this day.

Pyramid of Athribis

The Pyramid of Athribis was a small mudbrick pyramid, which was located at Athribis (Tell Atrib) in the southern Nile Delta, northeast of the modern city of Banha. It was located the furthest north of all the pyramids in ancient Egypt and the only known pyramid to have been built in the Delta.

Rayen Castle

Rayen Castle (Persian: ارگ راين‎ Arg-e Rāyen) is an adobe castle 100 Kilometers south of Kerman province, Iran. It is situated on the skirts of the mountain Hezar. The medieval mudbrick city of Rayen is similar to Arg-e Bam which was destroyed in an earthquake in December 2003. Rayen displays all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel. It is extremely well preserved, despite numerous natural disasters that have destroyed similar structures nearby, and it is one of the most interesting sites in Iran.Rayen Castle was inhabited until 150 years ago and, although believed to be at least 1,000 years old, may have foundations from the pre-Islamic Sassanid era. According to the old documents, it was situated on the trade route, and was one of the centres for trading valuable goods and quality textiles. It was also a centre of sword and knife manufacturing, and later on, also guns. With a waterfall near the city, the Haraz mountain with 4501 meters of altitude, several fruit gardens, the mines of green and pink marble, Sodium Solphate, and several thermal springs, it's become and attractive touristic destination. During the reign of third Yazdgerd, the Sasanid King, Arabs could not conquer this city thanks to its high walls supporting the counterparts of the city.


Shibam (Arabic: شِـبَـام‎, romanized: Šibām), often referred to as Shibam Haḍramawt (Arabic: شِـبَـام حَـضْـرَمَـوْت‎) is a town in Yemen. With about 7,000 inhabitants, it is the seat of the District of Shibam in the Governorate of Hadhramaut. Known for its mudbrick-made high-rise buildings, it is referred to as the "Chicago of the Desert" (Arabic: شِـيـكَاغـو ٱلـصَّـحْـرَاء‎), or "Manhattan of the Desert" (Arabic: مَـانْـهَـاتَـن ٱلـصَّـحْـرَاء‎).

Shibam District

Shibam District (Arabic: مـديـريـة شـبـام‎) is a district of the Hadhramaut Governorate, Yemen. Its capital is the town of Shibam, famous for its mudbrick-made tower houses. As of 2003, the district had a population of 48,829 inhabitants.

Sudano-Sahelian architecture

Sudano-Sahelian architecture refers to a range of similar indigenous architectural styles common to the African peoples of the Sahel and Sudanian grassland (geographical) regions of West Africa, south of the Sahara, but north of the fertile forest regions of the coast.

This style is characterized by the use of mudbricks and adobe plaster, with large wooden-log support beams that jut out from the wall face for large buildings such as mosques or palaces. These beams also act as scaffolding for reworking, which is done at regular intervals, and involves the local community. The earliest examples of Sudano-Sahelian style probably come from Jenné-Jeno around 250 BC, where the first evidence of permanent mudbrick architecture in the region is found.

Tell Bazmusian

Tell Bazmusian is an archaeological site on the right bank of the Little Zab in the Ranya Plain (Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraq). The site was excavated between 1956 and 1958 by Iraqi archaeologists as part of a salvage operation to document cultural remains that would be flooded by Lake Dukan, the reservoir created by the Dukan Dam which was being built at that time. Apart from Tell Bazmusian, four other sites were excavated during this operation: ed-Dem, Kamarian, Qarashina and Tell Shemshara. Bazmusian is a tell, or settlement mound, with a circumference of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) and a height of 23 metres (75 ft). Together with Tell Shemshara, it is one of the largest archaeological sites in the Ranya Plain. When the excavations started, the southeast flank of the mound was occupied by a village that was only established at the beginning of the 20th century. The site is now submerged under Lake Dukan.The excavations have revealed 16 occupation layers, ranging from the Samarra culture (sixth millennium BCE) up to the ninth century CE. The finds of level I consisted of a fragmented pebble foundations, ninth-century CE pottery and mudbricks. Level II also contained Islamic material. Level III, to be dated to the late second millennium BCE, contained a single-room temple with thick mudbrick walls. Pottery dated to the mid- to late-second millennium BCE. In a pit outside of this temple, several clay tablet fragments were found. Although they were too damaged to be read, based on stylistic details they could be dated to the Middle Assyrian period. An earlier version of this temple was uncovered in level IV. In level V, plastered mudbrick walls were found. Levels VI–XVI contained material dating to the third millennium BCE, the Uruk period and of the Samarra and Halaf cultures but this has not yet been published.

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