Did you know the Ceremonial Enclosure of Khasekhemwy in Egypt is the oldest mud-brick structure in the world?
It is located in Hierakonpolis, the Predynastic capital of Upper Egypt which grew to prominence in the mid-third millennium B.C. The Ceremonial Enclosure of Khasekhemwy was built by King Khasekhemwy, the last ruler of the Second Dynasty (2686 B.C.)
It is built entirely of sun-dried mud brick, with walls 5 meters (16.4 feet) thick and still preserved in places to its original imposing height of 9 meters (29.5 feet)
Archaeological trenches made in the foundations of the walls destabilized the structure, and wind and sand erosion enlarged these openings. Rain created vertical gullies running down many of the walls. The enclosure, along with the entire site of Hierakonpolis, was recently declared a protected antiquities zone by the government of Egypt and was accurately surveyed, photographed, and documented.
For the third time, it has been listed with the World Monument Fund as one of the world’s 100 most endangered monuments. Decorated on its exterior with a pattern of recessed paneling or niches and originally plastered white, it must have been a striking sight in its time.
Almost 5,000 years later, it stands as a testament to the abilities of its builder, King Khasekhemwy but the reasons for which it was built remain a mystery.
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