Curator ancient Near Eastern collections

Dr. David Kertai
tel: +31 (0)71 5163 182

Educational background and research

David Kertai (1978) studied architecture at the Technische Universiteit Delft, ancient history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and archaeology at Universiteit Leiden. He obtained his doctoral degree in 2012 in Heidelberg with a dissertation on Assyrian palace architecture and kingship (2015, The Architecture of Late Assyrian Royal Palaces; Oxford University Press). He is especially interested in integrating historical, archaeological, and art historical sources in order to study the ancient Near East in all its facets. He is also interested in the emergence and development of Near Eastern archaeology in the 19th century. He has taught and conducted research at, amongst others, University College London, New York University, and the Freie Universität Berlin and has participated in archaeological projects in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey since 2005.


  • Material and visual culture of the ancient Near East
  • The Assyrian Empire
  • Architectural history
  • The emergence and development of ancient Near East archaeology
David Kertai nieuwe conservator

Selected publications

PDFs of publications by David Kertai can be downloaded from his page on


  • Kertai, D. (2015). The Architecture of Late Assyrian Royal Palaces. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Edited volumes

  • Kertai, D. and O. Nieuwenhuyse (2015). 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 and chapters

  • Kertai, D (2020). “Libbali-sharrat in the Garden: An Assyrian Queen Holding Court,” Source: Notes in the History of Art 39/4: 209–18.
  • Kertai, D (2020). “The Canon of Ancient Near Eastern Palaces.” In: A. Gansell and A. Shafer, eds. Testing the Canon of Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 195–213.
  • Kertai, D (2020). “Architectural Assemblages: The Northwest Complex at Zincirli,” Cambridge Archaeological Journal 29/1: 81–101.
  • Gross, M. and Kertai, D (2019). “Becoming Empire: Neo-Assyrian Palaces and the Creation of Courtly Culture,” Journal of Ancient History 7/1: 1–31.
  • Kertai, D (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: 139–61.
  • Kertai, D (2017). “The Interior Spaces of Assyria’s Royal Palaces: The bēt ḫilāni Reconsidered,” Iraq 79: 85–104.
  • Kertai, D (2015). “The Creatures that Protected the Doors of Nineveh During the Second Millennium BCE,” Mesopotamia 50: 147–56.
  • Kertai, D (2015). “After the Royal Court Moved Away: A Reinterpretation of the Ivory Finds within the Royal Palaces of Kalḫu,” Altorientalische Forschungen 42/1: 112–
  • Kertai, D (2015). “The Guardians at the Gate. Entering the Southwest Palace in Nineveh,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 74/2: 325–49.
  • Kertai, D (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, 49–76.
  • Kertai, D. (2014). “From bābānu to bētānu, Looking for Spaces in Neo-Assyrian Palaces.” In: N. May and U. Steinert, eds. The Fabric of Cities. Culture and History of the Ancient Near East 68. Leiden: Brill, 189–201.
  • Kertai, D. (2013). “The Queens of the Late Assyrian Empire,” Altorientalische Forschungen 40/1: 108–
  • Kertai, D. (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, 689–712.
  • Kertai, D. (2011). “Kalḫu’s Palaces of War and Peace: Palace Architecture at Nimrud in the Ninth Century BC,” Iraq 73: 71–85.
  • Kertai, D. (2008–2009). “The History of the Middle-Assyrian Empire,” Talanta XL-XLI: 2551

Book chapters

  • Kertai, D. (2019). “Assyria (1900-612 B.C.E.).” In: M. Frazer, ed. Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture, 21st edition. London, the Royal Institute of British Architects, 33–45.
  • Kertai, D. (2019). “Babylonia (1800-539 B.C.E.).” In: M. Frazer, ed. Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture, 21st edition. London, the Royal Institute of British Architects, 17–32.
  • Kertai, D. (2019). “The Thronerooms of Assyria.” In: M. Bietak, P. Matthiae, S. Prell, eds. Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Palaces Volume II. Proceedings of a workshop held at the 10th ICAANE in Vienna, 25–26 April 2016. Wiesbaden: Harassowitz, 41–56.
  • Kertai, D. (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, 147–152.
  • Kertai, D. (2017). “Prachtige Paleizen.” In: L. P. Petit and D. Morandi Bonacossi, eds. Nineveh hoofdstad van een wereldrijk. Leiden: Sidestone Press, 97–102.
  • Kertai, D. (2017). “The Iconography of the Late Assyrian Crown Prince.” In: From the Four Corners of the Earth, 111–133.
  • Kertai, D. (2015). “The Winged Genie in its Original Context”. In: A. de Freitas, ed. Atas do Colóquio Arte da Mesopotâmia. Lisbon: Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, 44–63.
  • Kertai, D. (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, 337–347.
  • Kertai, D. (2013). with M. M. Hussein and M. Altaweel. “Nimrud and its Remains in Light of Iraqi Excavations from 1989-2002.” In: New Research on Late Assyrian Palaces, 91–108.
  • Kertai, D. (2013). “Osdorpplein.” In: J. Zeinstra, ed. Amsterdam Places. Interiors, Buildings and Cities. Amsterdam: Architectura & Natura, 135–139.
  • Kertai, D. (2013). “The Multiplicity of Royal Palaces. How Many Palaces did an Assyrian King Need?” In: New Research on Late Assyrian Palaces, 11–22.
  • Kertai, D. (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, 519–530.

Book reviews

  • Kertai, D. (2019), review of H. Gries (2017) “Der Assur-Tempel in Assur. Das assyrische Hauptheiligtum im Wandel der Zeit,” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie 109/1: 117-122.
  • Kertai, D. (2019), review of J. Elayi (2018) “Sennacherib, King of Assyria,” Society for Biblical Literature.
  • Kertai, D. (2019), review of F. Buccellati (2016) “Three-Dimensional Volumetric Analysis in an Archaeological Context: The Palace of Tupkish at Urkesh and its Representation,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 78/1: 153–155.
  • Kertai, D. (2017), review of P. Werner (2016) “Der Anu-Adad-Tempel in Assur,” Bibliotheca Orientalis 74/5-6: 634–637.
  • Kertai, D. (2016), review of F.J. Kreppner and J. Schmid (2013) “Die Stratigraphie und Architektur des “Roten Hauses” von Tall Šēẖ Ḥamad/Dūr-Katlimmu,“ Bibliotheca Orientalis 73/1–2: 228–233.