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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Kristen Hopper

Research Associate in the Department of Archaeology

(email at


I hold a BA Hons in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of Saskatchewan, and a MA (by research) in Archaeology from Durham University. My PhD, The Gorgan Plain of northeast Iran: a diachronic analysis of settlement and land use patterns relating to urban, rural and mobile populations on a Sasanian frontier was undertaken at Durham University as part of the ERC Funded Project ‘Persia and its Neighbours: The Archaeology of Late Antique Imperial Power in Iran (Persia Project) which has been investigating frontier landscapes of the Sasanian Empire (3rd -7th centuries AD). My research focused on reconstructing long-term settlement patterns (Iron Age through Sasanian) using data obtained from both modern and historical (CORONA) satellite imagery and field surveys. I continued this research as a PDRA on the Persia Project, where my role was to integrate the data gathered by the project through satellite remote sensing, and archaeological surveys in Iran, Georgia and Oman for publication. I am currently a Post-doctoral research associate on the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA) project.

My research interests include archaeological landscapes of the Near East, Caucasus, and Central Asia with a focus on later territorial empires and mobile pastoral communities, and GIS and remote sensing applications in archaeology. I have extensive fieldwork experience in the Near East and the Caucasus including as assistant survey director of the Gorgan Wall Project Survey (Iran) and the Caucasian Gates Project Survey (Georgia). 

Research Groups

Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East

  • Postgraduate students

Department of Archaeology

  • Heritage, Archaeology, People & Places Research & Impact Group
  • Landscapes of Complex Society Research Group

Research Projects

Department of Archaeology

  • Gorgan Wall Project
  • Persia and its Neighbours: the Archaeology of Late Antique Imperial Power in Iran (Persia Project)


Edited book

  • Anderson, William, Hopper, Kristen & Robinson, Abby (2018). Landscape Archaeology in Southern Caucasia: Finding Common Ground in Diverse Environments. Workshop held at 10th ICAANE in Vienna, April 2016. Oriental and European Archaeology. Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

Chapter in book

  • Hopper, Kristen & Rekavandi, Hamid Omrani (Submitted). Investigating Mobile Pastoralist Landscapes in North East Iran: The Contribution of Remote Sensing. In New Agendas in Remote Sensing and Landscape Archaeology: Studies in Honor of Tony J. Wilkinson. Lawrence, Dan, Altaweel, Mark & Philip, Graham The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
  • Hopper, Kristen, Anderson, William & Robinson, Abby (2018). Landscape Archaeology in Southern Caucasia: An Introduction. In Landscape Archaeology in Southern Caucasia: Finding Common Ground in Diverse Environments. Workshop held at 10th ICAANE in Vienna, April 2016. Anderson, William, Hopper, Kristen & Robinson, Abby Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. 8: 11-22.
  • Hopper, Kristen (2017). Connectivity on a Sasanian frontier: Route Systems in the Gorgan Plain of North-East Iran. In Sasanian Persia: Between Rome and the Steppes of Eurasia. Sauer, Eberhard W. Edinburgh University Press. 126-150.
  • Hopper, K. & Wilkinson, T.J. (2013). Population and Settlement Trends in Southwest Iran and Neighbouring Areas. In Ancient Iran and its Neighbours: Local developments and long-range interactions in the fourth millennium BC. Petrie, C British Institute of Persian Studies Archaeological Monographs Series. Oxbow Books. 35-50.
  • Wilkinson, Tony, J., Rekavandi, Hamid Omrani, Hopper, Kristen, Priestman, Seth, Roustaei, Kourosh & Galiatsatos, Nikolaos (2013). The Landscapes of the Gorgān Wall. In Persia's Imperial Power in Late Antiquity: The Great Wall of Gorgan and the Frontier Landscapes of Sasanian Iran. Rekavandi, Hamid Omrani, Wilkinson, Tony J., Nokandeh, Jebrael & Sauer, Eberhard, W. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 24-132.

Journal Article

  • Charbonnier, Julien & Hopper, Kristen (2018). The Qanāt: a multidisciplinary and diachronic approach to the study of groundwater catchment systems in archaeology. Water History 10(1): 3-11.
  • Jansen van Rensburg, Julian & Hopper, Kristen (2017). Incense and imagery: mapping agricultural and water management systems on the island of Socotra, Yemen. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 47: 129-138.
  • Shumilovskikh, Lyudmila S., Hopper, Kristen, Djamali, Morteza, Ponel, Philippe, Demory, Franҫois, Rostek, Frauke, Tachikawa, Kazuyo, Bittmann, Felix, Golyeva, Alexandra, Guibal, Frédéric, Talon, Brigitte, Wang, Liang-Chi, Nezamabadi, Masoud, Bard, Edouard, Lahijani, Hamid, Nokandeh, Jebrael, Rekavandi, Hamid Omrani, de Beaulieu, Jacques-Louis, Sauer, Eberhard & Andrieu-Ponel, Valérie (2016). Landscape evolution and agro-sylvo-pastoral activities on the Gorgan Plain (NE Iran)in the last 6000 years. The Holocene 1-16.
  • Sauer, E W Pitskhelauri, K, Hopper, K, Tiliakou, A, Pickard, C, Lawrence, Dan, Diana, A, Kranioti, E & Shupe, C (2015). Northern outpost of the Caliphate: maintaining military forces in a hostile environment (the Dariali Gorge in the Central Caucasus in Georgia). Antiquity 89(346): 885-904.

Edited Journal

  • Charbonnier, Julien & Hopper, Kristen (2018). Special Issue: The Qanāt: Archaeology and Environment. Water History, 10 (1): Springer.