Earth construction materials

David E Friesem, Julia Wattez, Marylise Onfray

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Two groups of techniques are usually distinguished in earth‐based construction.(i) Indirect shaping, with the earth materials shaped into a mould such as adobe or mud brick or sundried brick (Aurenche 2003). In the New World, Africa and Eastern Asia, earth construction materials are generally termed adobe.(ii) Direct shaping, including: the cob technique (bauge in French or tauf in Arabic), in which materials are piled by layers, by clumps or by lumps, rammed earth within a temporary frame (pisé in French, tapia and tabby in English), daub (also known as wattle and daub)–a term used to address the application of earth material on frameworks or walls (Chazelles 1997), and turf or sod construction (which is dealt with by Huisman & Milek 2017, this book). Goldberg & Macphail (2006) distinguish between building clay (eg, brickearth)–referring to the use of unworked clay–and worked and transformed earth‐-based building materials such as mud bricks, daub and rammed earth. The archaeological aim of micromorphological investigation of earth construction materials is to provide sourcing, technological data and the reconstruction of human behaviour embedded in these human‐made materials. Key micromorphological features of mud bricks, cob and wattle and daub are described in this chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchaeological Soil and Sediment Micromorphology
EditorsCristiano Nicosia, Georges Stoops
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781118941089, 9781118941065
ISBN (Print)9781118941058
StatePublished - Oct 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Earth construction materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this