William Zimmerle

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Visiting Professor Affiliation: Visiting
Email: wgz1@nyu.edu
Education: MDiv. Harvard University; PhD University of Pennsylvania; PgCert. University of Edinburgh School of Law

Research Areas: Anthropology, Writing, and Ethnography; Arabian Archaeology; Museum Studies; Religion and Ritual; Semitic Languages; Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development


William Gerard Zimmerle is both the Director of the Dhofar Ethnography Preservation Project: Documenting the Cuboid Incense Burner in the Sultanate of Oman, and the Dhofar Rock Art and Inscriptions Project: A Digital Humanities Initiative in the Sultanate. Both field projects are under the auspices of the Diwan of the Royal Court.

He completed his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014, where he specialized in Near Eastern Archaeology, Ancient History, and Epigraphy. As part of his dissertation, he conducted extensive research on the Arabian incense trade from its earliest beginnings through the early Islamic period in the Near East Section at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. In addition to his doctoral degree, he earned a Masters degree in Religious Studies from Harvard University. He holds a number of graduate certificates including an advanced certificate in African Studies (Ethiopic languages) from Penn’s Center for African Studies and a post-graduate certificate (PgCert) in Intellectual Property Law from the University of Edinburgh School of Law in Scotland.

He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the Sylvan C. and Pamela Coleman Curatorial Research Fellow in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan; the Samuel H. Kress Fellow in the History of Art at the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan; the Terrace Research Associate in Egyptian Art in the Department of Art of the Ancient World at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA; Visiting Scholar in Religion (Ethiopic Studies) at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ; the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center Research Fellow in Washington, DC and Muscat, Oman; the American Institute of Yemeni Studies Research Fellow;  the American Institute of Archaeology/Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Exchange Fellow in the Oriental Department in Berlin, Germany; and the United States Fulbright Commission Post-Doctoral Fellow in Dhofar, the Sultanate of Oman. He previously taught in the Social Sciences department at Dhofar University in Salalah as well as at the University of Pennsylvania and Rowan University in New Jersey. 


His academic research interests are interdisciplinary and include the following:  Pre-Islamic and Islamic material culture of the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa; Arabian incense burners; organic residue analysis (LC-MS) and the history of the frankincense trade; intellectual property and cultural heritage law; museum studies; archaeological tourism and sustainable development; the archaeology and history of Mesopotamia and Arabia; epigraphic South Arabian languages; rock art and epigraphy; the anthropology of scent and ritual studies; and all aspects of Digital Humanities including GIS and Remote Sensing, and 3D imaging of material culture for heritage preservation.

Courses