Curator Ancient Near East collections

Dr. David Kertai
Phone number: +31 (0)71 5163 182
E-mail: send a message
See his Academia-page

Study and career

David Kertai (1978) studied architecture at Delft University of Technology, ancient history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and archaeology at Leiden University. He received his PhD from Heidelberg in 2012 for a study of Assyrian palace architecture and kingship (2015, The Architecture of Late Assyrian Royal Palaces; Oxford University Press). He has worked as a researcher and lecturer at University College London, New York University, Tel Aviv University, Martin Buber Society of Fellows (Jerusalem) and the Freie Universität Berlin and has been active as a field archaeologist in Iraq, Syria and Turkey since 2005.


David Kertai is particularly interested in the integration of historical, archaeological and art historical research to study the history of the ancient Near East in all its facets. In addition, David Kertai is interested in the genesis and development of ancient Near Eastern archaeology in the nineteenth century. From 2016, David Kertai has been involved in the British Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme in the Darband-i Rania region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Ask me a question about

  • Material and visual culture of the ancient Near East
  • The Assyrian Empire
  • Architectural history
  • History and development of the ancient Near East archaeology

Important research projects

David Kertai nieuwe conservator

David Kertai

Important publications

David Kertai

David Kertai

Important exhibitions

Important lectures

  • 2023, Assyrian eunuchs: social castration as imperial strategy. Freie Universität Berlin, Berlijn.
  • 2022, Assyrian eunuchs. Trinity College Dublin, Dublin.
  • 2021, The iconography of Assyrian Religion. University of Oxford, Oxford.
  • 2021, Echte kunst is slechts door de Grieken gemaakt. Week van de Klassieken, Leiden.
  • 2019, The Garden Scene of Libbali-šarrat: Elite Individuals in the Art of Assyria. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
  • 2019, The Lady of Assyria: what made the goddess Ishtar-of-Arbela so important in Assyria? Arbela Symposium: 1st Erbil Design Exhibition. Erbil, Iraaks Koerdistan.
  • 2019, Assyria Identities: The Role of Elite Individuals in the Art of Assyria. Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University, New York.
  • 2017, The Architecture of the Gaze: Palace J/K at Zincirli. Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Boston.
  • 2017, The Reimagining of Mosul: Contextualising the Emergence of Near Eastern Archaeology. 63rd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg.
  • 2016, The Idols of Assyria: The Reception of the Neo-Assyrian Palace Colossi in Victorian Britain. 62nd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
  • 2016, The Architecture of Late Assyrian Royal Palaces: The Spatial Organisation of Kingship, Courtiers and Guests. Eötvös Lórand University, Budapest.
  • 2013, The Assyrian Royal Palaces at Kalḫu (Nimrud). University of Cambridge, Cambridge.
  • 2013, Spatial Multiplicities: A New Look at Late Assyrian Royal Palaces. Brown University (Providence), Yale University (New Haven), University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) en The John Hopkins University (Baltimore).
  • 2013, The Guardians at the Gate. Gulbenkian Museum, Lissabon.
  • 2013, The Architectural Context of Ashurbanipal’s Garden Scene, British Museum, Londen.

In the media