Dr Eva Miller

Eva is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at UCL History. Her research considers the ancient Middle East, the modern West, and the relationship between the two, through asking questions about processes of rediscovery, transmission, and reception. Her current project investigates how imagery uncovered in mid-19th century excavations of ancient Assyrian sites in northern Iraq (dating to the 9th-7th cent. BCE) was adapted and 'revived' by European and American artists, architects, politicians, authors, and academics, especially in the United States and Germany. She is interested in the wider intellectual climate that shaped and was shaped by this process, in which the newly discovered Assyrian antiquity wound up being used, by different groups and in different ways, to work out what it meant to be modern and Western. Her book, Early Civilization and the American Modern: Images of Middle Eastern Origins in the United States, 1893–1939 is forthcoming with UCL Press.

Eva's background is in the art, history, and languages of ancient Mesopotamia. She holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford where her thesis investigated representations of enemy punishment in palace art and Akkadian cuneiform texts of the 7th century BCE Assyrian monarch Ashurbanipal. She has previously been a teaching fellow for the ancient Middle East at UCL History, a teaching fellow at the University of Birmingham, and Henri Frankfort Fellow at the Warburg Institute.

Notable publications

  • 'A New Look for the Jewish Past: Historicism, Authenticity, and Fantasy in E. M. Lilien’s Bible Art'. The Art Bulletin 105, no. 1 (2023): 37–63.
  • 'The Dinosaur from 600 BC! Interpreting the Dragon of Babylon, from Excavation into Fringe Science'. 2021. Endeavour. Forthcoming.
  • 'From Mesopotamia to the Nebraska State Capitol: Assyrian Revival and New American Meanings'. 2020. Sculpture Journal 29 (1): 65–93.


Advanced Seminar: The Universal Museum, the World's Fair, and the Exhibition of Everything, 1800–present


British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow for the project 'A New Antiquity: Western Reception and Revival of Ancient Assyria in Decorative Arts and Architecture, 1850-1935'