I grew up in Devon, went to school in Bedford, and studied Classics with Akkadian as an undergraduate at the University of Birmingham. I stayed on as a doctoral student in Ancient History and Archaeology (Assyriology) and then as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. I spent three years in Finland as a State Archives of Assyria Editor at the University of Helsinki. After teaching at UK universities for three years, I moved to Oxford as a Departmental Lecturer in the Faculty. I was then appointed to the part-time Shillito Fellowship in Assyriology in 2006, alongside a Tutorial Fellowship at St Benet’s Hall (2007-22). I was awarded the title of Associate Professor in 2021 and joined Queen’s as a Senior Research Fellow in 2022.
I teach for the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and give language and text classes in Akkadian and lecture on ancient Middle Eastern religion and literature. As well as teaching small groups of undergraduates and Master’s students across the colleges, I also supervise Master’s and DPhil students.
My broad research interests are in the religion, literature, and intellectual history of ancient Mesopotamia, an area approximately corresponding to modern-day Iraq. Most of the textual sources are written in Akkadian cuneiform on clay tablets from the first millennium BCE. I am particularly interested in cuneiform knowledge production, ritual, and astral mythology in Babylon in the later first millennium BCE, with a focus on the changing fortunes of the Esagil temple under a succession of externally imposed empires. A related research focus is Akkadian literature, including narrative poetry, and its cultural contexts and cuneiform reception over time. My research is closely linked to my teaching and seeks to understand texts and their impact in their ancient cultural settings.