"And they said to one another, 'Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.'"
In ancient times, brick houses were made first, by compacting together wet mud and clay into slabs and leaving them to dry in the sun. Once solid, the bricks were piled up to fashion a basic building. However, the major problem with sun-dried bricks is that rainy weather can revert them to wet mud. It took brick makers a long time to arrive at a solution—buildings were constructed from dried mud blocks for more than 5,000 years before the fired brick appeared.
Using a combination of clay, sand, and water, brick makers in the Middle East formed a pliable mass of matter called a clot. The clot was shaped in a wooden mold to create what is known as a "green" (that is, unfired) brick. This was placed in a kiln and baked more...