Dr. David Kertai

Buber Fellow: 
00972 (0)25881931
Academic interests: 

Near Eastern archaeology and history ; the Assyrian Empire ; elite culture ; architectural history

Current Projects: 

My current project “The otherworldly places of Assyria” focuses on the role of the wild and wondrous that existed beyond the edges of civilisation in shaping Assyrian culture and history (c. 1350 – 612 BCE). These otherworldly places could be conquered, visited and imagined, but were also used to create new meaningful spaces within the centres of civilisation. The resulting landscape of meaningful physical, textual and iconographic otherworldly spaces profoundly shaped Assyria’s culture of empire and ideology of kingship. An analysis of this landscape will highlight an important aspect of Assyrian culture, which contributed to the success of one of the world’s first empires.

Curriculum Vitae: 

Oct. 2014 – Sept. 2015 Postdoctoral Fellow
The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University
June 2012 – May 2014 Research Associate
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, United Kingdom

2008 – 2011 PhD in Archaeology of the Near East (University of Heidelberg, Germany)
2006 – 2008 MA in Archaeology (Leiden University, the Netherlands)
2003 – 2006 BA in Ancient History, specialisation: languages and cultures of the ancient Near East (Free University Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
1996 – 2003 MSc in Architecture (Technical University Delft, the Netherlands)


(2015): The Architecture of Late Assyrian Royal Palaces (Oxford: Oxford University Press). http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780198723189.do

Edited books

Kertai, D. and O. Nieuwenhuyse (2017): From the Four Corners of the Earth. Studies in the Iconography and Cultures of the Ancient Near East in Honour of F.A.M. Wiggermann. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 441 (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag).

Kertai, D. and P. A. Miglus (2013): New Research on Late Assyrian Palaces.Conference at Heidelberg January 22nd, 2011. Heidelberger Studien zum Alten Orient 15 (Heidelberg: Heidelberger Orientverlag).

Refereed articles

(2018) “Architectural Assmeblages: The Northwest Complex at Zincirli,” Cambridge Archaeological Journal. (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774318000379).

(2018) “The Assyrian Influence on the Architecture of Hospitality in the Southern Levant”. In: A. Faust and S. Z. Alster (eds.) The Southern Levant Under Assyrian Domination. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns: 13961.

(2017)The Interior Spaces of Assyria’s Royal Palaces: The bēt ḫilāni Reconsidered, Iraq 79: 85–104.

(2015)The Creatures that Protected the Doors of Nineveh during the Second Millennium BCE”, Mesopotamia 50: 147–156.

(2015) After the Royal Court Moved Away: A Reinterpretation of the Ivory Finds within the Royal Palaces of Kalḫu”, Altorientalische Forschungen 42/1: 112–121.

(2015) “The Guardians at the Gate. Entering the Southwest Palace in Nineveh”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 74/2: 325349.

(2013) “The Queens of the Late Assyrian Empire”, Altorientalische Forschungen 40/1: 108–124.

(2011) “Kalḫu’s Palaces of War and Peace: Palace Architecture at Nimrud in the Ninth Century BC”, Iraq 73: 7185.

(2008-2009) “The History of the Middle-Assyrian Empire”, Talanta: Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society XL-XLI: 25–51.

Book chapters

(2017) “The Palaces of Nineveh.” In: L. P. Petit and D. Morandi Bonacossi, eds. Nineveh, the Great City. Symbol of Beauty and Power. Leiden: Sidestone Press, 14752.

(2017) “Prachtige Paleizen.” In: L. P. Petit and D. Morandi Bonacossi, eds. Nineveh hoofdstad van een wereldrijk. Leiden: Sidestone Press, 97102.

(2017) “The Iconography of the Late Assyrian Crown Prince”. In: From the Four Corners of the Earth [2]: 111-133.

(2015) “Imagining Second Storeys in Late Assyrian Palaces: The Architectural Reconstructions of James Fergusson and Jean-Claude Margueron”. In: D. Nadali and M. G. Micale (eds.) How Do We Want the Past to Be? On Methods and Instruments of Visualizing Ancient Reality. Regenerating Practices in Archaeology and Heritage 1 (Piscataway: Gorgias Press): 4976.

(2015) “The Winged Genie in its Original Context”. In: A. de Freitas (ed.) Atas do Colóquio Arte da Mesopotâmia (Lisbon: Musea Calouste Gulbenkian): 4463

(2014) “The Architecture of Connectivity: Ashurnasirpal II’s Late Assyrian Palace in Kalḫu”. In: D. Kurapkat,  P. I. Schneider and U. Wulf-Rheidt (eds.) Die Architektur des Weges. Diskussionen zur Archäologischen Bauforschung 11 (Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner): 337347.

(2014) “Frombābānu to bētānu, looking for spaces in Neo-Assyrian palaces”. In: N. May and U. Steiner (eds.) The Fabric of Cities. Culture and History of the Ancient Near East 68 (Leiden: Brill): 189201.

(2013) “The Art of Building a Late Assyrian Palace”. In: B. Brown and M. H. Feldman (eds.) Critical Approaches to Ancient Near Eastern Art (Berlin: DeGruyter): 689712.

(2013) Hussein, M. M., D. Kertai and M. Altaweel: “Nimrud and its Remains in Light of Iraqi Excavations from 1989-2002”. In: New Research on Late Assyrian Palaces [3]: 91108.

(2013)  “Osdorpplein”. In: J. Zeinstra (ed.) Amsterdam Places. Interiors, Buildings and Cities (Amsterdam: Architectura & Natura): 135139.

(2013) “The Multiplicity of Royal Palaces. How Many Palaces did an Assyrian King Need?”In: New Research on Late Assyrian Palaces: 1122.

(2012) “Organising the Interaction Between People. A New Look at the Elite Houses of Nuzi”. In: G. Wilhelm (ed.) Proceedings of the 54th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, May 2008 (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns): 519530.


Book review (2017): Werner. P. – Der Anu-Adad-Tempel in Assur, Bibliotheca Orientalis 74/5-6: 634–7.

Book review (2016): Kreppner, F.J., und J. Schmid – Die Stratigraphie und Architektur des "Roten Hauses" von Tall Šēẖ Ḥamad/Dūr-Katlimmu, Bibliotheca Orientalis 73/1-2: 228233.

Blog (2015): “The destruction of an Assyrian palace”. http://blog.oup.com/2015/05/destruction-assyrian-palace/