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Humanities Research Fellow Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
William 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 South Arabian 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 Mesopotamian Archaeology and ancient Semitic languages. At Penn, 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 Philadelphia. In addition to his doctoral degree, he earned a Masters degree in Comparative Religions and Semitic languages from Harvard University. He holds a number of graduate certificates including an advanced certificate in African Studies (Ethiopic languages and history) from Penn’s Center for African Studies, and a post-graduate certificate in Intellectual Property Law from the University of Edinburgh School of Law in the United Kingdom.
He is also 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-Amman, Jordan; the Terrace Research Associate in Egyptian Art in the Department of Art of the Ancient World at the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston; Visiting Scholar in Religion at Princeton Theological Seminary-Princeton; the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center Research Fellow in Washington, DC-Muscat; the American Institute of Yemeni Studies Research Fellow; the American Institute of Archaeology/Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Exchange Fellow in the Oriental Department-Berlin; and the United States Fulbright Commission Post-Doctoral Fellow in Dhofar, the Sultanate of Oman.
His academic research interests include Pre-Islamic and Islamic material culture of the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa; Arabian incense burners, organic residue analysis, and the question of the frankincense trade; intellectual property and cultural heritage law; museum studies; archaeological tourism and sustainable development; the archaeology and history of the Middle East and Arabia; epigraphic South Arabian languages; the anthropology of scent and ritual studies; and all aspects of Digital Humanities including data visualization, GIS and Remote Sensing, and 3D imaging of material culture for heritage preservation.