Dr Selena Wisnom

Lecturer in the Heritage of the Middle East

Dr Selena Wisnom

School/Department: Archaeology and Ancient History, School of



Selena Wisnom - Academia


I initially studied Classics before taking up graduate work in Cuneiform Studies. My MPhil and DPhil focused on Babylonian poetry, and alongside my research I wrote a trilogy of plays set in ancient Assyria. Subsequently I held an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship, working to build links between theatres and academic research. In Oct 2016 I was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship in Manuscripts and Text Cultures at The Queen's College, Oxford, and I was a fixed-term lecturer in Assyriology at the University of Cambridge from 2017-2019. I joined the University of Leicester in 2020 as the first Lecturer in the Heritage of the Middle East.


My research centres on the heritage of ancient Iraq, specifically the languages, literature, and intellectual history of Mesopotamia. Particular areas of interest include Babylonian poetics and metre, Mesopotamian scholarly texts, divination, and neo-Assyrian history. I also work with a number of arts, heritage, and community organisations to promote wider engagement with Iraq’s ancient history and culture, especially through theatre and performance.



  • Weapons of words: intertextual competition in Babylonian poetry, Culture and History of the Ancient Near East, Brill, 2020


  • 'Dynamics of repetition in Akkadian poetry' in S. Helle and G. Konstantopoulos (eds.),The Shape of Stories: Narrative Structures in Cuneiform Literature, , Cuneiform Monographs, Brill, 2023
  • ‘Marduk the fisherman’ – Journal of the American Oriental Society 141.1, 211-214, 2021
  • ‘Implications of intertextuality: Erra and Išum and The Lamentation over the destruction of Sumer and Ur’ – Compte rendu de la Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale62, 503-524, 2021
  •  ‘Blood on the wind and the tablet of destinies: intertextuality in Anzû, Enūma eliš, and Erra and Išum’ Journal of the American Oriental Society 139.2, 269-286, 2019
  • ‘Bringing Assyria to the Stage’, Altorientalische Forschungen 43,1–2, 203-7, 2016
  • ‘Stress patterns in Enūma eliš: a comparative study,’ KASKAL 12, 485-502, 2015


I supervise topics on ancient Mesopotamian literature, religion, and intellectual history, as well as reception and heritage engagement.


I teach courses on the Ancient Near East, the Ancient World beyond the Mediterranean, Babylonian Sources, and Languages for Ancient History. I also contribute to distance learning courses on World Archaeology BCE, and Slavery in the Ancient World.


My play ‘Ashurbanipal: the last great king of Assyria’ was performed at the Crypt Gallery, Euston, 28 Feb - 3 Mar 2019:
Ashurbanipal: The Last Great King of Assyria

I am Chair of the Enheduanna society, a UK charity dedicated to the popularisation of the literature, history, and culture of ancient Iraq, and on the advisory board of Eye on Heritage, a digital platform for the documentation of intangible cultural heritage under threat.

The Enheduanna Society

Eye on Heritage

I am on the board of the Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures at the Queen’s College, Oxford, an interdisciplinary research centre examining the materiality of texts and knowledge production:

Queen's College - Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures


MA Classics, MPhil and DPhil Cuneiform Studies (University of Oxford)

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