Courtesy Robert Littman and Marta Lorenzon

A TIMELESS RECIPE. The Egyptian recipe for making durable mudbricks is simple: mud, water and straw. For mud, Egyptians used topsoil, which already had the ideal proportions of clay, silt and sand; straw served as temper. This tried-and-true recipe was mimicked at Tell Timai in an effort to produce new mudbricks to conserve ancient mudbrick structures at the site. A local mudbrick maker gathered straw (shown here) and mixed it with mud from nearby fields and canals and with water. Bare feet were used to knead the mixture for four days. Once it had fermented, the mixture was left alone for a couple days. On the day the mudbricks were formed, the mixture was kneaded once more.