Wattle & daub is a composite building method used for making walls and buildings.

In which a woven lattice of wooden strips called wattle. Is daubed with a sticky material. Usually made of some combo (wet soil, clay, sand, animal poo, and straw). The two are a ancient building technique. That has been used by various cultures around the world. For thousands of years. The walls are made by weaving together a framework of wooden sticks or branches (wattle). Then covering the framework with a mixture of mud, clay, straw, or other materials (daub). Resulting in something both sturdy and insulating. Making it suitable for constructing walls, and entire buildings.

Here’s how it works:
Wattle: Framework is created by weaving sticks or branches horizontally and vertically to form a lattice. It provides basic structure for the wall. And, it helps support the daub.
Daub: A mixture made of clay, mud, or other locally available materials. Like straw or other fibers to add strength and reduce cracking as it dries. This mixture is applied to framework in layers. Often it is smoothed and shaped to create a relatively even and level surface.
Drying: Once the mud is applied. It dries and hardens. Soon it will be solid and stable creating a complete wall.

The method has been used at least 6,000 years
It is still used today

Used in the Neolithic period. It was common for houses of Linear pottery. It was also found in Çatalhöyük, Shillourokambos. Africa, and, others.
Dating to around 4000 BC. Until the 1st dynasty in Egypt. The method shows up in Egyptian archaeological sites.
It is seen in Rome. And, England. In combination with timber and timber frame housing.
In the Americas. The technique was used in Mississippian culture, and Brazil.
There is debate that construction techniques plaster and cob may have evolved from wattle and daub.

The wattle is made by weaving thin branches, or slats. Either whole, or split. Between upright stakes. It may be made as loose panels. Or, slotted between timber framing to make infill panels. Made in the place to form a wall.

The origin of the term wattle. Is believed to be derived from describing a group of acacias (small trees with thorny branches) in Australia. In early Australian European settlements. It was common to use acacias as wattle. Reeds and vines were also be used as wattle and building material.

Daub is usually created from a mixture of ingredients from three categories (binders, aggregates and reinforcement)
binders: hold the mix together and can include clay, lime, chalk dust and limestone dust.
aggregates: give the mix its bulk and dimensional stability through materials such as mud, sand, crushed chalk and crushed stone.
and, reinforcement: provided by straw, hair, hay or other fibrous materials, and helps to hold the mix together as well as to control shrinkage and provide flexibility.

The wattle and daub process has nearly entirely been replaced in modern architecture. Using brick and mortar or lath and plaster instead
In the earlier part of the 20th century. A common building material for wall and ceiling surfaces. Was covering a series of nailed wooden strips with plaster. Smoothed into a flat surface. Though, in many regions this building method has been overtaken. From builders using drywall, or plasterboard sheets. And, easier more standardized trades and building construction code.

Wattle and daub construction has several advantages
Sustainability: It uses readily available, using natural materials like wood, clay, and straw.
Insulation: The combination creates good insulation. For both thermal and sound.
Flexibility: It allows for a variety of architectural shapes and designs.
Local Adaptation: Builders can adapt the materials to suit local conditions, and resources.

This building technique has been used historically for a wide range of structures. Houses and barns, to fences and even defensive structures. It’s still used in some regions today, particularly in areas where traditional construction methods are valued for their sustainability and cultural significance.

Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Wattle and Dab”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 419.

Nicholson, Paul T.; Shaw, Ian; Press, Cambridge University (23 March 2000). Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology (https://books.google.com/books?id=Vj7A9jJrZP0C&q=barry+kemp+wattle+and+daub&pg=PA78). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-45257-1.

“Australia’s Wattle Day – Parliament of Australia” (http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/Publications_Archive/CIB/cib9596/96cib1). Aph.gov.au.

Leave a Reply