My research focuses on the art and archaeology of ancient Iran, and on the regions of the Near East, Eastern Mediterranean, and Central Asia that interacted with Iran prior to the advent of Islam. I am especially interested in reconstructing the social, cultural, political and even economic environments in which objects were created. I am also interested in how our modern knowledge of the ancient world was created, since this affects how we interpret objects and the conclusions we draw about the people who made them.

I have held fellowships at the Harvard Art Museums and the Getty Research Institute, and teaching positions at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Southern California. I am now the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


PhD Classical Art and Archaeology, University of Michigan (2014)

Graduate Teaching Certificate, University of Michigan (2012)

Graduate Certificate in Greek and Roman History, University of Michigan (2010)

MA Classics – Art and Archaeology, University of Colorado (2007)

MA Classics (Hons.), University of St. Andrews (2005)

Other Publications

Pioneers of the Western Desert: The Kharga Oasis in the Achaemenid Empire. In B. S. Düring and T. Stek (eds.), The Archaeology of Imperial Landscapes: A Comparative Study of Empires in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean World, 86-114. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Contact Points: Memphis, Naukratis, and the Greek East. In J. Spier, T. Potts, and S. E. Cole (eds.), Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World, 82-88. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018.

Globalization and the Study of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In T. Hodos (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization, 871-884. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017.

Gemelli Careri’s Description of Persepolis. Getty Research Journal 9 (2017), 181-190.

Roman Collecting and the Biographies of Egyptian Late Period Statues. World Archaeology 48.2 (2016), 226-238.

Memories of the Second Persian Period in Egypt. In J. M. Silverman and C. Waerzeggers (eds.), Political Memory in and after the Persian Empire, 165-202. Ancient Near East Monographs 13. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015.

Art of the Achaemenid Empire and Art in the Achaemenid Empire. In B. A. Brown and M. H. Feldman (eds.), Critical Approaches to Ancient Near Eastern Art, 773-800. Boston: De Gruyter, 2014.

Connectivity and Communication in the Achaemenid Empire. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 56.1 (2013), 29-52.

Orientalism, Postcolonialism, and the Achaemenid Empire: Meditations on Bruce Lincoln’s Religion, Empire and Torture. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 54.2 (2011), 87-103.

Movement and Materiality: Mobile Cores and the Archaeology of Political Boundaries. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 25.2 (2010), 43-56 (with R. C. Hughes).

Henry Colburn

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