Miss Kristen Hopper
(email at email@example.com)
‘Nomads’ and Empires: Identifying mobile groups in an imperial frontier landscape
Mobile pastoralists are the most elusive segment of society in the ancient Near East and Central Asia simply because they do not leave easily identifiable traces of settlement. My research aims to define the role of mobile populations within larger sedentary settlement patterns, networks of interaction and landscape studies in Northeast Iran from the Iron Age through Sasanian periods. Integral to this is a consideration of the role that mobile groups played in the development of empires, as this region contains the 195km long Gorgan Wall, a feature built to protect the edge of the Sasanian empire from ‘nomadic’ raiders.
I have been working as part of an international team from the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization, Durham University and Edinburgh University on the Gorgan Wall Project integrating data from survey and excavation with information on patterns of mobility from ethnographic reports, and data gathered through remote sensing in a GIS to create a visual database of landscape features in order to better define the relationship between settlement and agricultural landscapes, and possible landscape signatures of pastoral activity.