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Have you ever wondered, while looking at the different building bricks for sale today, where bricks really came from? You’re probably familiar with the concept of ancient civilisations using mud to construct their homes, and later stacked stones. But where exactly did the idea of making use of manufactured bricks come from?


Mud bricks in the Bronze Age (Roughly 8000 BC)


The biblical story about the Israelites bringing down the walls of Jericho is quite well known, even outside of Christianity. With the discovery the ruins of this ancient city, archaeologists found evidence of what could be the earliest known use of mud bricks.


These mud bricks are believed to have been made by shaping the mud into a brick before leaving it to bake in the sun. These baked mud building bricks would have vastly improved construction efforts by being more uniform in shape, easier to transport and lighter than massive slabs/chunks of stone.


Baked bricks in Mesopotamia (Roughly 6000 BC)


Moving on from sun-baking bricks and coming closer to modern baked bricks, archaeologists have traced some of the oldest known kilns back to Mesopotamia. These kilns were used to bake even stronger bricks, made from combinations of mud and straw (among other materials, depending on what was available). One of the greatest advantages of this advancement is that brickmakers discovered that by baking building bricks they were not only stronger, but also more water-resistant.


Fired clay bricks in the Roman Empire (Roughly 753 BC to 476 AD)


As the saying goes: “All roads lead to Rome.” While the Romans also made use of mud bricks at first, they discovered that these were not suitable for use in larger structures. So, using brick firing techniques they acquired from the ancient Greeks, the Romans began improving on the production of fired clay bricks (the origin of what is today known as ‘Roman bricks’).

Given the expansion of the Roman Empire, it is not surprising to think that these bricks and the techniques for making them would have spread throughout the world as they did.


The first brick making machines (1800s)


While the ancient improvements in brickmaking are impressive, they would never have been able to keep up with modern demands. So, with the boom in technology and industrial activity during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, British brick makers pushed the Romans’ technology to new heights by mechanising the process. By combining kiln-based brick firing with mechanised processes, it became possible to produce thousands of building bricks per day, and at vastly reduced prices.


Today you have a wide variety of building bricks to choose from, depending on where you intend to use them. Contact us to make sure that you get what you need along with expert advice from the Sand Shifters team.