Providing high border defence, this fortified citadel allows the Assyrians to assert their dominance over conquered territories.
The great territorial expansion of the Middle Assyrian Empire during the 13th and 12th centuries BCE saw the rise of a particular type of building: the Dunnu. These fortified complexes were built to perform several functions: they defended the empire’s borders, demonstrated Assyrian dominance in conquered territories, and supported agriculture. The Dunnu were the base of military, administrative, and productive activities organized around a citadel. Often built on man-made mounds of earth or hills, they overlooked the farming plains that in turn provided the Dunnu with crops. The fortress and defensive walls were made using mud bricks, a technique that made it possible to build tall structures quickly. In some sites, the defensive walls stood 6 meters high and 2 meters wide and were surrounded by ditches 3.5 meters deep and 4 meters wide.