Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Adobe Abode

The oldest buildings still standing on Earth are made of adobe. For 4,000 years, from the American Southwest to the Peruvian Andes, handmade, sun-dried adobe bricks, made of clay, sand, water, sticks and straw have been a practical, inexpensive and long lasting building material. Local conditions dictated the exact mixture, as did materials on hand, and if necessary, dung was added. The bricks were formed in large molds and slow dried in the sun to reduce cracking. The same mixture, minus the straw, was used for mortar. The largest remaining adobe structure in the Western Hemisphere is the Huaca del Sol in Peru, a pre-Columbian adobe temple constructed of 100 million signed bricks.

The photograph is of Mission San Juan Capistrano, known as "The Jewel Of The Missions", built of adobe.

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