The increase in strength and evolution of crystalline phases in inorganic polymer cement, made by the alkali activation of slag, Class C and Class F fly ashes, was followed using compressive strength test and synchrotron X-ray diffraction. In order to increase the crystallinity of the product the reactions were carried out at 80 °C. We found that hydrotalcite formed in both the alkali-activated slag cements and the fly ash-based geopolymers. Hydroxycancrinite, one member of the ABC-6 family of zeolites, was found only in the fly ash geopolymers. Assuming that the predominantly amorphous geopolymer formed under ambient conditions relates to the crystalline phases found when the mixture is cured at high temperature, we propose that the structure of this zeolitic precursor formed in Na-based high alkaline environment can be regarded as a disordered form of the basic building unit of the ABC-6 group of zeolites which includes poly-types such as hydroxycancrinite, hydroxysodalite and chabazite-Na. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.