- Student Work
Loam is part of the upper area of the solid earth‘s crust which has been transformed over millennia under the influence of weather, flora, and fauna (cf. Schroder 2018: 62). During soil formation, breakdown products of inorganic and organic substances are converted and built up into new components that are characteristic of the particular soil. While the humus-rich A-horizon forms the basis for vegetation and agriculture, suitable building soil can be taken from the lighter colored, humus-free B-horizon. There are four main types of mineral soils: gravel, sand, silt, and loam. These main types of soil are mostly mixed, so loams are typical mixed-grain soils. Clay acts as a binding material between the coarse-grained components (gravel, sand, silt). Depending on the clay content, a distinction is made between cohesive and non-cohesive loam (cf. Schroder 2018: 62). Climatic regions and geological foundations determine the different compositions and the resulting varying potentials of loam as a building material. But in general, loam is available almost everywhere because the formation process is similar all over the world.#
Loam has always served humans as a building material.
10,000 BC, mankind‘s form of food procurement changed from hunting and gathering to agriculture and animal farming. This requires solid dwellings, constructed largely of wood, natural stone, and earth. Loam is used either as solid construction, i.e. in a load-bearing function or as a skeleton construction in combination with wood. The construction methods depend on the climatic region and given wood resources. These methods can be traced back thousands of years in history worldwide. The first solid house constructions were discovered by archaeologists, in southwestern Asia, in the areas of today‘s Turkey / Iran. The oldest house constructions made of loam were found in Catal Höyük, today‘s Anatolia (cf. Schroeder 2018: 2). Loam is also a widely used building material in China. Techniques such as the rammed earth construction or the construction with mud bricks have been known here for thousands of years. The Great Wall of China was partly built using loam among other materials (cf. Schroeder 2018: 4).