Kiersten Neumann


Kiersten Neumann is a historian of Near Eastern art and archaeology. Her research is grounded in theoretical approaches to ancient art, with a focus on sensory experience and visual culture of the first millennium BCE. She is co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of the Senses in the Ancient Near East (Routledge, 2022), and has published numerous articles on topics pertaining to sensory experience, ritualized practice, and material culture of the first millennium BCE, as well as museum practice, collections histories, and the reception of Assyrian and Achaemenid art. At the OI Museum, she has curated such exhibitions as "Persepolis: Images of an Empire" (2015–2017), “Joseph Lindon Smith: The Persepolis Paintings” (2022), and “Making Senses of Marbles: Roman Sculpture at the OI” (2022–2023). Her current book projects include a volume on the sensory experience of the Neo-Assyrian Temple.

Kiersten received her BA in Classical Studies and German and her MA in Ancient Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity in the Mediterranean from the University of British Columbia; and her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Art and Archaeology from the University of California, Berkeley, for which she received a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her Ph.D. dissertation, Resurrected and Reevaluated: The Neo-Assyrian Temple as a Ritualized and Ritualizing Built Environment, was awarded The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII) Donny George Youkhana Dissertation Prize for the best U.S. doctoral dissertation on ancient Iraq in 2015. She has held teaching appointments for courses on the art and archaeology of the ancient Near East, Egypt, and the Mediterranean, and has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Turkey, at the site of Tell Tayinat, and Greece, at the Athenian Agora. She also helped host the Oriental Institute’s Ancient Land of Persia travel program in Iran in 2016.


“From raw to ritualized: following the trail of incense of the Assyrian Temple,” in Sensing Divinity: Incense, Religion and the Ancient Sensorium, edited by A. Grand-Clément, A. Vincent, M. Bradly, and A-C Rendu Loisel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)


“Sensing the Sacred in the Neo-Assyrian Temple: The Presentation of Offerings to the Gods,” in Distant Impressions: The Senses in the Ancient Near East, eds. A. Hawthorn and A-C. R. Loisel (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2019)


 “Gods Among Men: Fashioning the Divine Image in Assyria,” in What Shall I Say of Clothes? Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to Dress in Antiquity, eds. M. Cifarelli and L. Gawlinksi, Selected Papers in Ancient Art and Architecture 3, 3-23 (Boston: Archaeological Institute of America, 2017)



“Persepolis: Images of an Empire,” Oriental Institute Museum, 2015–2017

“Unintentional Artifacts: Material Remains of People and Practice at Tell en-Nasbeh,” Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Pacific School of Religion, 2014–2015

“The Part Which the Camera Plays,” Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Pacific School of Religion, 2013–2014

“Shedding Light on the Layers of a Lamp: Creation, Production, and Symbolism at Tell en-Nasbeh,” Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Pacific School of Religion, 2011–2012

“William Frederic Badè: Theologian, Naturalist, and Archaeologist,” Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Pacific School of Religion, 2009–2011


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