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History of Bricks in Iraq and Mesopotamia - A long journey from Ashur

Fired bricks are one of the longest-lasting and strongest building materials, sometimes referred to as artificial stone, and have been used since circa 4000 BC. Air-dried bricks, also known as mudbricks, have a history older than fired bricks, and have an additional ingredient of a mechanical binder such as straw. [1]

"A 3D digital reconstruction of Ashurbanipal's so-called North Palace at Nineveh, extracted from Learning Sites full reconstruction model of the entire Kuyunjik citadel. © 2019 Learning Sites, Inc."

The bricks were pressed into molds and then dried in the sun or baked in ovens (kilns). The molds made it possible to produce bricks that were fairly uniform in size and shape. [2]

Baked bricks form this fortification wall. The strength and height are increased by alternating rows of bricks running in different directions. Kiln-baked bricks were stronger and these were used for the outer walls of structures. [3]

In the ninth through seventh centuries BC, the kings of Assyria forged the greatest empire the region had known. The Assyrian heartland itself lay astride the Tigris River in Mesopotamia, in what is today northern Iraq. Its original capital was the city of Ashur, known by this name since at least the mid-third millennium BC. In the period of the Assyrian Empire, the capital moved successively to Kalhu (Nimrud), Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad), and finally—the grandest city of all—Nineveh.

The Assyrians used mud brick as their primary building material, but the palace facades were often covered in white gypsum plaster that gleamed in the sunlight. Polychrome glazed bricks and wall paintings enhanced the architecture. Colossal stone sculptures depicting winged, human-headed bulls and lions guarded the entrance. [4]

Ashur Brick is proud to producing bricks in the cradle of civilization and utilizing the best and latest European technologies in automation and processing with a long heritage in the art of construction materials.


[1] Wikipedia contributors. (2020, June 10). Brick. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:47, June 14, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brick&oldid=961835644

[2] Manufacturing of Brick . (2006). Brick Industry Association. Retrieved from https://www.gobrick.com/docs/default-source/read-research-documents/technicalnotes/9-manufacturing-of-brick.pdf

[3] Linsley, A. C. (2017). Brick Making in the Ancient World. Retrieved from https://asa-cwis.blogspot.com/2017/04/brick-making-in-ancient-world.html

[4] Assyria Palace Art of Ancient Iraq. (n.d.).The J. Paul Getty Museum. Retrieved from https://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/assyria/inner.html