A once and future classicist, 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, the Getty Research Institute and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and teaching positions at the University of California, Irvine, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Riverside. I am currently a Fields of the Future Fellow at the Bard Graduate Center in New York. I am also adjunct faculty at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and, by virtue of my work on the seals of the Persepolis Fortification Archive, a Research Associate of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.


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

Von Silber und Getreide – Zahlungsmittel und Wirtschaft im Achämenidenreich. In Badisches Landesmuseum (ed.), Die Perser: Am Hof der Großkönige, 40–5. Zaberns Bildände zur Archäologie. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2021.

Amasis (Persian General), 58–9; Ariaramnes the Persian, 132; Artaphernes, son of Hystaspes, 157–8; Artobazanes, 166–7; Badres of Pasargadae, 215; Bagaeus, 216; Boges, 235–6; Nile River, 977–9; Nitetis, 982–3; Oeobazus of Cardia, 1001; Otanes (1), son of Pharnaspes, 1026–7; Patiramphes, 1060; Pausiris, 1065; Phanes, 1108–9; Thannyras, 1423. In C. Baron (ed.), The Herodotus Encyclopedia. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2021.

Archaeology of Empire in Achaemenid Egypt. Edinburgh Studies in Ancient Persia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020.

The Canon of Ancient Iranian Art: From Grand Narratives to Local Perspectives. In A. Gansell and A. Shafer (ed.), Testing the Canon of Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology, 111-131. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Udjahorresnet the Persian: Being an Essay on the Archaeology of Identity. In M. Wasmuth and P. P. Creasman (ed.), Udjahorresnet and His World, 59-74. Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 26. Tucson: Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections.

(with A. M. Belis) An Urartian Belt in the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Origins of the Parthian Shot. Getty Research Journal 12 (2020), 195-204.

From the Mediterranean to China — After Alexander. In S. Ebbinghaus (ed.), Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes and Kings, 304-351. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Art Museums, 2018.

(with S. Ebbinghaus) Emblematic Animals at Iron Age Feasts. In S. Ebbinghaus (ed.), Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes and Kings, 86-113. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Art Museums, 2018.

The Role of Coinage in the Political Economy of Fourth Century Egypt. In P. McKechnie and J. A. Cromwell (ed.), Ptolemy I and the Transformation of Egypt, 404-282 BCE, 70-119. Mnemosyne Suppl. 415. Leiden: Brill, 2018.

Pioneers of the Western Desert: The Kharga Oasis in the Achaemenid Empire. In B. S. Düring and T. Stek (ed.), 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 (ed.), 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 (ed.), 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 (ed.), 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).


For my current research projects, please visit https://henrycolburn.hcommons.org/research/

Henry Colburn

Profile picture of Henry Colburn


active 6 days, 15 hours ago