How Was Clay Used in Ancient Times?

Clay is a natural material that has been used by humans for thousands of years. It has been utilized in various ways over the centuries, from building structures to creating pottery and even as a healing agent.

In ancient times, clay was an important resource that helped shape civilization. Let’s explore how clay was used in ancient times.

Building Structures

One of the earliest uses of clay was in building structures. In fact, some of the oldest architecture in the world was constructed using clay. The ancient Sumerians (4000-3000 BCE) built their homes and temples using sun-dried mud bricks made from locally available clay.


Clay has been used to create pottery for thousands of years. The earliest known pottery dates back to 18,000 BCE and was found in China.

Ancient Egyptians also created pottery using clay, with many examples still surviving today. Pottery made from clay was not only functional but also served as an art form.


Ancient Egyptians also used clay as a cosmetic ingredient. They would mix red and yellow ochre with water to create a paste that they applied to their faces as makeup. This practice continued through the ages, with different cultures developing their own versions of cosmetic clay masks.

Healing Properties

Clay has been used for its healing properties for centuries. Ancient Greeks used it as a remedy for digestive issues and skin ailments such as acne and rashes. In India, Ayurvedic medicine uses clay to treat various conditions such as arthritis, ulcers, and even cancer.


In ancient Rome, people would bathe in thermal baths that contained clay deposits. These baths were believed to have therapeutic properties that could help heal various ailments.

Mud Therapy

Mud therapy, also known as pelotherapy, is a practice that uses clay to treat various conditions. This practice has been used for centuries in different cultures.

The clay is applied to the body, either as a paste or in the form of mud baths, and left to dry. The body then absorbs the minerals and nutrients present in the clay.


Clay has been an important resource for humans throughout history. From building structures to creating pottery and using it for its therapeutic properties, clay has played a significant role in shaping civilizations. Its versatility and abundance have made it a valuable resource that continues to be used even today.