Kerrie Myers

Kerrie Myers

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details


  • BA (Hons) First Class in Ancient History & Archaeology – University of Birmingham
  • MREs in Cuneiform and Ancient Near Eastern Studies – University of Birmingham


I was first drawn to the study of Ancient Mesopotamia as an undergraduate student, when I began studying Sumerian and Akkadian, and first encountered Mesopotamian mythology and religion. This early interest quickly evolved into a passion for studying Mesopotamian religious and ritual texts. I was fortunate to have a chance to work briefly as a Research Assistant with Dr A. Livingstone, where I researched Babylonian rituals within the framework of modern anthropological and theological theories of ritual practice. Following from this, I pursued a Masters in analysing the Mouth-Washing (Mis PI) ritual as a rite of passage, as first defined by van Gennep in 1909.

While I was completing my Masters, I developed a keen interest in Mesopotamian supernatural entities, in particular the role of demons and monsters as reoccurring motifs, characters, and antagonists in incantation texts, particularly those that are passed down and inherited from civilisation to civilisation across Ancient Mesopotamia. As to be expected with any inherited belief, the way in which these entities and their characteristics are portrayed evolves significantly over time. Tracking these changes within early incantation texts, and understanding the contextual driving forces behind them, forms the core of my current research. 


  • PGTA for the UG modules ‘Understanding Ancient Societies’ and ‘Early Civilisations: Ancient Western Asia.’

Doctoral research

PhD title
Agents of Divinity in Mesopotamian Incantation Texts (2300-1600 BCE)
Classics and Ancient History PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)


Although considerable attention has been given to the study of demons in the first millennium BCE, or to individual infamous demons such as Lamaštu, there is currently very little research on how these demons were defined and characterised in the earliest of incantation texts, from the late 3rd to the early 2nd millennium BCE. My research aims to rectify this, through studying the role of agents of divinity within Mesopotamian incantation texts, in particular Sumerian incantation dating from the latter days of the Early Dynastic Period (circa 2300BCE), through to the end of the Old Babylonian period (circa 1600BCE). My research is dedicated to identifying, translating, and analysing incantation texts in which agents of divinity feature as a character or key motif.

Within the parameters of my thesis, agents of divinity are defined as supernatural and/or mythical creatures, entities, and other non-divine beings, who are often acting on behalf of a deity in order to fulfil a divine agenda or mandate. This primarily includes demons who feature within Mesopotamian religious and ritual texts as the agents of a deity’s will. Demons within Mesopotamia also serve as anthropomorphised personifications of the unknown and unexplainable, including unexpected child mortality, sickness and disease, bad luck, and natural disasters. Their presence within incantations and wider religious texts is often, therefore, to act as representatives of negative and chaotic forces, and yet also frequently to do so within the authority of a deity.

Through establishing and analysing my own corpus of early incantations, I will be able to create overarching narratives of how the portrayal of demons and other agents of divinity shifted throughout this period. For example, I will thoroughly explore the similarities and differences with how particular demons are described and characterised across the period, as well as identify key linguistic changes or parallels between texts. The aim of my research is to foster further opportunities to study demons and their role within Mesopotamian belief systems, and to create a cohesive edition of key texts for this purpose. 

Other activities

  • Specialist Editor for the Rosetta Journal


Conference papers

  • ‘An Analysis of the Babylonian Mouth-Washing (Mīs Pî) Ritual as a Rite of Transition.’ Birmingham Assyriology Symposium 2016, University of Birmingham
  • ‘Blood in the Neo-Assyrian Induction of the Cult Statue.’ Birmingham Assyriology Symposium 2017, University of Birmingham
  • ‘The Role of Demons in Babylonian Incantation Texts.’ Classics, Ancient History, and Archaeology Colloquium 2017, University of Birmingham