Under 1960s ceramic tile

What is under 1960s ceramic tile? First rotted wood made me think it was mastic. Then I saw plywood. Then, as more tiles came loose, I saw some brown flakes, which I took for mold. Now I got a handful of loose tiles and I see what looks like wax paper with holes punched in where the dots of grout went. It almost makes sence that they put the tiles on wax paper so as to keep them in place so they don't have to lay them one by one. This way the pattern is preset.
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snipped-for-privacy@at.BioStrategist.dot.dot.com wrote:

backing sheets. This makes it easier for a DIY to get a complex pattern right, but it also saves time for anyone, since it's not necessary to put spacers between each individual tile -- just mastic the whole unit up at once, and grout normally.. Not sure when the practice started, but it certainly predates the 60s.
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snipped-for-privacy@at.BioStrategist.dot.dot.com wrote:

1960's substrate.
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