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Kristen Hopper

Assistant Professor (Research)

Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Archaeology


I am an Assistant Professor in Archaeology on the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) ProjectEAMENA uses the remote sensing of satellite imagery to rapidly document and monitor archaeological sites across the MENA region.  Since 2018, I have been engaged in the development and delivery of EAMENA- Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) training with national heritage agencies, NGOs, and civil society groups in Lebanon, Iraq (including the KRI), Syria, Jordan, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  I have also been working with the Council for At Risk Academics (Cara) Syria Programme to support Syrian academics displaced during the conflict continue their research. These knowledge exchange projects have also led to the co-production of research with colleagues in Syria investigating the spatial and temporal context of damage to cultural heritage during conflict, and in Iraq documenting the destruction of Yazidi cultural heritage during Islamic State’s Genocide against the Yazidis.

I have extensive experience leading landscape surveys in Iran, Georgia, and Oman.  My PhD research, 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, undertaken at Durham University as part of the Persia and its Neighbours Project.  It used data obtained from both modern and historical (CORONA) satellite imagery and field surveys to reconstruct long-term settlement and land use in the Iron Age through the Sasanian period (c. early-mid 1st millennium BC – mid 1st millennium AD) on the Gorgan Plain (NE Iran). My most recent fieldwork project was the Lagodekhi Survey (part of the GILAP project) in Georgia, and I continue to work with Durham colleagues on the Tell Koubba excavations in Lebanon. 

On the Rewriting World Archaeology Project, I supported early career researchers via one-to-one mentoring and knowledge exchange activities to develop publications for international peer-reviewed journals, as part of the Middle East leadership team.  More recently, I have delivered training for social sciences and humanities researchers from the South Caucasus in GIS and remote sensing methodologies supported by the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC), which brought together researchers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

As part of the Steppe Sisters Network, I work with colleagues to connect women and underrepresented groups engaged in human sciences research in Central Asia and neighbouring regions (including the South Caucasus).  Our focus is on creating networking and mentoring opportunities and developing the foundations for equitable and sustainable international research partnerships.

Research Interests

·         Archaeological landscapes of SW Asia, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

·         Cultural heritage protection

·         Landscapes of empires

·         Water management in arid regions

·         The archaeology of mobile pastoral communities

·         GIS and remote sensing applications in archaeology

Esteem Indicators

2023: Chair of Decolonisation Committee, BANEA Steering Committee

2021: Member of the BANEA Steering Committee

2021: Chair of the Steppe Sisters Steering Committee


Chapter in book

Conference Paper

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Journal Article