What we know about the construction works comes from foundation tablets, inscriptions engraved on reliefs, and the Assyrian archives - mainly correspondence between Sargon and his dignitaries, governors and agents. All of these texts are written in cuneiform Akkadian.

Funding the works

In 717 BCE , Sargon was not yet in a financial position to buy the land and all the raw materials he needed. According to his correspondence, some of the expense was covered by loans from private individuals. After 714 BCE Sargon’s army looted Musasir and carried off tonnes of metal and silver, solving his financial problems.

Organising the works

Each sector was managed by a governor who could write to the king whenever they encountered a problem. Officials regularly complained of a shortage of skilled labour. It was not uncommon for workers to attempt to escape forced labour or to run away.

Sargon's personal involvement

The king closely supervised and controlled the works and he seems to have been personally involved in the construction of the city, as he states in his inscriptions:

 ”I planned and reflected day and night how to settle this city”  (…). 

(translation S. Lackenbacher, 1990)

Sargon was impatient and sometimes threatened the lives of officials who failed to finish on time. He could also take a conciliatory approach. He replied personally to a team of workers, encouraging them to stay and help install some bulls, probably in response to a petition.