Mud brick house, c 5000 BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This model represents an early brick dwelling from Jericho. The walls are of packed mud blocks, made of fine clay with a high percentage of straw. Typically the blocks were about 50cm by 25 cm in size, with smaller ones filling any gaps. The floors would have been paved with a mixture of mud and straw and the roof was probably constructed from branches and mud. The first bricks were made in Mesopotamia some 8000 years ago by moulding a mixture of mud and straw into a rectangular shape and then leaving it to dry in the sun. The first kiln-fired bricks were also produced in Mesopotamia in about 3200-2800 BC. Firing the bricks made them harder and much more resistant to erosion.