Article source: Earth Environment Research Institute
Firing bricks, or sintered bricks, as common building materials, have significant affect in the evolution of human civilization and are one of the important signs of humanity entering the era of civilization. In China, firing bricks were widely used as building materials from the Qin Dynasty. Although archaeological data suggests that the history of Chinese brick firing may date back to 5500 years ago, it is difficult to draw a definitive conclusion on the history of Chinese brick firing due to archaeological discoveries that only some red clay was used, rather than bricks in their true sense.
Recently, the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology discovered strictly burned bricks at a Yangshao era archaeological site in Lantian, Shaanxi. Researchers from the Institute of Earth Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology used the accelerator mass spectrometer of Xi'an Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Center to conduct detailed radiocarbon dating of carbon chips, bones, antlers and other materials in the site. The results show that the history of fired bricks in China can be traced back to at least 5000-5300 years ago.
This research result has been recently accepted by the international archaeological journal Archaeometry and has been published online. The Making of Fired Clay Bricks in China Some 5000 Years Ago - Yang - 2014 - Archaeometry - Wiley Online Library
According to Yu Shiyong, the corresponding author of the paper and a researcher at the Institute of Earth Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the bricks discovered this time are truly fired bricks, and the dating results are similar to the emergence of fired bricks in India and the Two Rivers Basin, making them the earliest discovered fired bricks in East Asia. It is worth noting that, unlike the fired bricks of the same period abroad, the bricks discovered in Lantian this time did not contain grass mustard during the processing. Yu Shiyong introduced that bricks containing grass mustard can prevent cracking during the drying process. The fact that the fired bricks discovered by Lantian do not contain grass mustard may indicate that the technology for firing bricks in the region was independently developed, rather than imported from other regions.
The earliest burnt bricks and their unearthed site:
Radiocarbon dating result: