About our staff
Professor Eberhard Wolfram Sauer
MSt, DPhil (Oxon)
Professor of Roman Archaeology
I read Archaeology at the universities of Tübingen, Freiburg i.Br. and Oxford (Institute of Archaeology and Keble College). After completing my Master of Studies and Doctorate at Oxford, I taught at the School of Archaeology & Ancient History at Leicester from 1999 to 2001. I then returned as a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow to Oxford (2001-2003). Since 2003 I have been a Lecturer in Classical Archaeology at Edinburgh University’s School of History, Classics & Archaeology, since 2006/07 a Reader and since 2008 a Professor.
Council member of the British Institute of Persian Studies and The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
Summary of research interestsPlaces:
- Britain & Ireland
- Near East
- Ancient Civilisations
- Comparative & Global History
- Economic History
- Landscapes & Monuments
- Material Culture
My interests focus on the Roman Empire and Sasanian Persia, notably the linear walls in northern Iran. To find out more about the joint Iranian and British project on the frontier walls in Iran, see the article in Current World Archaeology 27, 2008 [PDF of article]. From 1996 until 2003/2004 I have excavated the Claudian military base at Alchester in Oxfordshire, in 1997 and 1998 Aves Ditch, an Iron Age linear earthwork, and from 2005 until 2009 ancient fortifications and settlements in northern Iran. In my D.Phil. (an expanded version of which has been published in 2005) I examined how the Italian custom of depositing coins in springs was imported into Augustan Gaul. I am also interested in other aspects religion, notably image destruction and Christian fundamentalism in the late Roman world as well as in other fields of research (e.g. epigraphy, numismatics, Roman military archaeology in general, the relation between Archaeology and Ancient History etc.). Recently I have focused on the Sasanian Empire, one of the ancient world’s largest empires, stretching from Mesopotamia to the west of the Indian Subcontinent.
Since 2012 I have been the PI in the ERC Persia Project, which has involved fieldwork on Sasanian military monuments in Iran, Georgia and Oman. Highlights include two of the ancient world largest fortresses (of 125ha and 175ha each) and the famous 'Caspian Gates'/ Dariali, explored jointly with colleagues in Iran, Georgia and Oman.
At the Arch of Septimius Severus (Rome).
- An Imperial Frontier and its Landscape: the Gorgan and Tammisheh Walls in North-East Iran
- Alchester Roman Fortress
- ERC Persia Project
- Roman World 1B
- Classical Archaeology 2B
- Ancient Superpowers: The Armies and Military Monuments of Rome and Persia
- Inscribed Objects: Roman Coins and Latin Inscriptions
- Paganism and Christianity in the Roman Empire
- The Roman Empire and its Neighbours
- Roman Archaeology
|Name||Degree||Thesis topic||Supervision type||Link|
|PhD||Charon's Obol? An Archaeological Study of the Role of Coins in Roman Burial Ritual (with case studies from Roman Italy, Germany, Britain and Unconquered Scandinavia)||Secondary|
|Ingle, Gabriela||PhD||The significance of banquet scenes in early Christian art.||Joint|
|Mowat, Fiona||PhD||Significance of grief on the imagery and inscriptions of funerary ash chests in the Early Roman Empire||Secondary|
|PhD||Iron Tools from Roman Military Sites in Britain||Primary|
|PhD||Sacred Place: Contextualizing Non-Urban Cult Sites and Sacred Monuments in the Landscape of Lusitania from the 1st to 4th c. AD||Primary|
|Rose, David||PhD||Persistence and Transformation in Gallic Religion: Votive Dedications and Sanctuaries in the late Iron Age to early Roman period||Primary||link|
|Name||Degree||Thesis topic||Supervision type||Completion year||Link|
|Strack, Sara||PhD||Regional Dynamics and Social Change in the late Bronze Age and Earlly Iron Age: a study of handmade pottery from southern and central Greece||Primary||2007|
|Rich, Andrew||MScR||Iron Tools from Roman Military Sites in Britain||Primary||2005|
|Richert, Elizabeth||MScR||Sacred Place: Contextualizing Non-Urban Cult Sites and Sacred Monuments in the Landscape of Lusitania from the 1st to 4th c. AD||Primary||2005|
For a full list of publications please follow this link.
Publication list of Eberhard W. Sauer
1. Sauer, E.W., Chologauri, L., Gabunia, A., Hopper, K., Lawrence, D., MacDonald, E., Mashkour, M., Mowat, F.A., Naskidashvili, D., Pitskhelauri, K., Priestman, S.M.N., Shumilovskikh, L., Simpson, St J., Tiliakou, A., Abe, Y. Batt, C., Gagoshidze, G., Gilmour, B., Greenwood, D., Pickard, C., Poole, I., Radu, V., Snape, L., Snyder, R., Stoetzel, E., Amiribeirami, S., Astolfi, M., Bailiff, I., Beizaee Doost, S., Bonato, E., Clavel, B., Debue, K., Decruyenaere, D., Diana, A., Fathi, H., Jajanidze, R., Kamjan, S., Kainaat, T., Khazaeli, R., Kranioti, E., Lemoine, M., Philip, G., Shupe, C., Shikaku, R. and Stern, B. et al., forthcoming late 2019/early 2020. Dariali: The Caspian Gates in the Caucasus from Antiquity to the Age of the Huns and the Middle Ages: The joint Georgian-British Dariali Gorge excavations & surveys of 2013-2016. British Institute of Persian Studies Monograph Series, V.1-2, Oxbow, Oxford (2 volumes, c. 1100 pages and 775 images: https://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/the-caspian-gates-in-the-caucasus-from-antiquity-to-the-age-of-the-huns-and-the-middle-ages.html).
2. Sauer, E.W. (ed.), with chapters by Amiri, S., Andrieu-Ponel, V., Ball, W., Beaulieu, J.-L. de, Callieri, P., Davoudi, H., Decruyenaere, D., Djamali, M., Fathi, H., Greenwood, T., Hopper, K., Howard-Johnston, J., Khazaeli, R., Lawrence, D., Mashkour, M., Mohaseb, A., Morley, C., Naderi-Beni, A., Nokandeh, J., Omrani Rekavandi, H., Patterson, L.E., Pitskhelauri, K., Ponel, P., Sauer, E.W., Sheikhi, S., Shumilovskikh, L., Simpson, St. J. and Wilkinson, T., 2017 (hardback), 2019 (paperback). Sasanian Persia between Rome and the Steppes of Eurasia, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press: xxi + 314 pp [ISBN 978 1 4744 0101 2].
3. Sauer, E.W., Omrani Rekavandi, H., Wilkinson, T.J., Nokandeh, J., Hopper, K., Abbasi, G.A., Ainslie, R., Roustaei, K., MacDonald, E., Safari Tamak, E., Ratcliffe, J., Mahmoudi, M., Oatley, C., Ershadi, M., Usher-Wilson, L.S., Nazifi, A., Griffiths, S., Shabani, B., Parker, D., Mousavi, M., Galiatsatos, N. and Tolouei, H., with contributions by Priestman, S., Mashkour, M., Batt, C.M., Greenwood, D.P., Jansen Van Rensburg, J., Caputo, F., Radu, V., Schwenninger, J.-L., Fattahi, M., Gale, R., Poole, I., Hoffmann, B., Evershed, R. and Thomas, R. 2013. Persia’s Imperial Power in Late Antiquity: the Great Wall of Gorgān and Frontier Landscapes of Sasanian Iran. A joint fieldwork project by the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handcraft and Tourism Organisation, the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research and the Universities of Edinburgh and Durham (2005-2009). British Institute of Persian Studies Archaeological Monographs Series II, Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. xvi + 712 [ISBN 978-1-84217-519-4].
4. Sauer, E.W., 2005, with contributions by Booth, P., Erwin, P. Hacking, P., Hoffmann, B., Knight, S. and Robinson, M., Linear Earthwork, Tribal Boundary and Ritual Beheading: Aves Ditch from the Iron Age to the Early Middle Ages. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports (Archaeopress), British Series 402, pp. iv + 105 [ISBN 1-84171-899-8].
5. Sauer, E.W., 2005. Coins, cult and cultural identity: Augustan coins, hot springs and the early Roman baths at Bourbonne-les-Bains. Leicester: Leicester Archaeology Monographs 10 (University of Leicester), pp. xviii + 324 + 11 plates [ISBN 0-9538914-4-5].
6. Sauer, E.W. (ed.), 2004, with contributions by Dialismas, A., Foxhall, L., Henig, M., Hoffmann, B., Karl, R., Laurence, R., Morgan, J., Murphy, E., Rankov, B. and Sauer, E.W., Archaeology and Ancient History: breaking down the boundaries. London and New York: Routledge, pp. xi + 206 [ISBN 0-415-30199-8 (hardback) and ISBN 0-415-30201-3 (paperback)].
7. Sauer, E.W., 2003. The Archaeology of Religious Hatred in the Roman and early medieval world. Stroud and Charleston: Tempus, pp. 192 + 25 plates [ISBN 0-7524-2530-7], reprinted by the History Press in 2009.
8. Sauer, E.W., 1996. The End of Paganism in the North-Western Provinces of the Roman Empire. The example of the Mithras cult. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports (Tempus Reparatum), International Series 634, pp. 125 [ISBN 0-86054-816-3].
ARTICLES & CHAPTERS in journals, conference proceedings and books
1. Sauer, E.W., Omrani Rekavandi, H., Nokandeh, J. and Naskidashvili, D., 2019. The Great Walls of the Gorgan Plain Explored via Drone Photography, in Moradi, Y., with Cantan, S., Keall, E.J. and Boroujeni, R. (eds), AfarinNameh: Essays on the Archaeology of Iran in Honour of Mehdi Rahbar, Tehran: Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism: 129-140.
2. Nemati, M.-R., Mousavinia, M. and Sauer, E.W., with a contribution by Cereti, C.G., 2019. ‘Largest Ancient Fortress of South-West Asia and the Western World? Recent fieldwork at Sasanian Qaleh Iraj at Pishva, Iran’, Iran (published online 5 March 2019: https://doi.org/10.1080/05786967.2019.1586449).
3. Sauer, E.W., Nokandeh, J., Omrani Rekavandi, H., Bagher Bayati, M., Caputo, F., Heise, M., Intagliata, E., Mahmoudi, M., Mohammadkhani, K., Perini, S., Ricci, A., Safari, E., Shabani, B., Shumilovskikh, L., Amirinezhad, A., Arteghi, B., Asghari, Z., Hopper, K., Hossein-Zadeh, M., Jahed, M., Jürcke, F., Lawrence, D., Taghi Maleka, M., Mansouri, M., Mirmousavi, M., Mohammadkhani, S., Priestman, S., Reza Rahimi, M., Rahmani, M., Ruchonnet, A., Salari, A. and Taji, D., 2018. ‘Forts and megafortresses, natural and artificial barriers: the grand strategy of the Sasanian Empire’, in Azizi Kharagani, M.H., Khanipour, M. and Naseri, R. (eds), Proceedings of the International Conference of Young Archaeologists 2015, Volume 3, Tehran: Iranology Foundation: 236-256.
4. Sauer, E.W. and Pitskhelauri, K., 2018. ‘Securing the Caucasus through Intelligence and Hard Power: Rome and Persia at the “Caspian Gates” (Dariali Gorge, Georgia)’, in Sommer, S.C. and Matešić, S. (eds), Limes XXIII.I. Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies Ingolstadt 2015/ Akten des 23. Internationalen Limeskongresses in Ingolstadt 2015. Beiträge zum Welterbe Limes, Sonderband 4/1, Mainz: 273-279.
5. Al-Jahwari, N.S., Kennet, D., Priestman, S. and Sauer, E.W., 2018. ‘Fulayj: a late Sasanian fort on the Arabian coast’, Antiquity 92/ 363: 724-741.
6. Sauer, E.W., 2017. ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Breaking Down the Boundaries between Archaeology and Ancient History in the Twenty-First Century’, in Lichtenberger. A. and Raja, R. (eds), The Diversity of Classical Archaeology. Studies in Classical Archaeology 1, Turnhout: Brepols Publishers: 89-99.
7. Sauer, E.W., 2017. ‘Introduction’, in Sauer, E.W. (ed.), Sasanian Persia between Rome and the Steppes of Eurasia, Edinburgh: 1-17.
8. Sauer, E.W., Nokandeh, J., Pitskhelauri, K. and Omrani Rekavandi, H., 2017. ‘Innovation and Stagnation: Military Infrastructure and the Shifting Balance of Power between Rome and Persia’, in Sauer, E.W. (ed.), Sasanian Persia between Rome and the Steppes of Eurasia, Edinburgh: 241-267.
9. Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E.W., Wilkinson, T. and Nokandeh, J., 2017. ‘The archaeology of Sasanian frontier troops: recent fieldwork on frontier walls in Northern Iran’, in Hodgson, N., Bidwell, P. and Schachtmann, J. (eds), Limes XXI. Roman Frontier Studies 2009. Proceedings of the XXI International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies (Limes Congress), held at Newcastle upon Tyne in August 2009. Archaeopress Roman Archaeology 25, Oxford: 145-150.
10. Hunter, F., Henig, M., Sauer, E.W. and Gooder, J. with contributions by Braby, A., Campbell, L., Hill, P., Lawson, G., McGibbon, F., McLaren, D., Robertson, J., Siddall, R. and Tomlin, R.S.O., 2016. ‘Mithras in Scotland: a Mithraeum at Inveresk (East Lothian)’, Britannia 47: 119-168.
11. Sauer, E.W., Omrani Rekavandi, H., Wilkinson, T. and Nokandeh, J., 2015. ‘Innovation at Persia’s Frontiers: Sasanian Campaign Bases and Defensive Barriers’, in Vagalinski, L. and Sharankov, N. (eds), Limes XXII. Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies, Ruse, Bulgaria, September 2012. Bulletin of the National Archaeological Institute 42, Sofia: 327-331.
12. Sauer, E.W., Pitskhelauri, K., Hopper, K., Tiliakou, A., Pickard, C., Lawrence, D., Diana, A., Kranioti, E. and 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 (DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2015.80).
13. Sauer, E.W., 2014. ‘Milestones and Instability (mid-third to early fourth centuries AD)’, Ancient Society 44: 257-305.
14. Sauer, E.W., 2014. ‘Disabling Demonic Images: Regional Diversity in Ancient Iconoclasts’ Motives and Targets’, in Kolrud, K. and Prusac, M. (eds), Iconoclasm from Antiquity to Modernity, Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate: 15-40, cf. vii (List of Illustrations) and 189-214 (Bibliography for all contributions).
15. Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E.W., Wilkinson, T., Abbasi, G.A., Ainslie, R., Ershadi, M., Fattahi, M., Galiatsatos, N., Jansen Van Rensburg, J., MacDonald, E., Mahmoudi, M., Oatley, C., Priestman, S., Ratcliffe, J., Roustaei, K., Safari Tamak, E., Shabani, B. and Usher-Wilson, L.S., 2011. ‘Shaping a Frontier Landscape: The Sasanian Army on the Great Wall of Gorgan and the Wall of Tammishe (Fieldwork in 2007, with a summary of the 2005 and 2006 seasons)’, in Archaelogical Reports (7). On The Occasion Of The 9th Annual Symposium on Iranian Archaeology (4th Volume), Shiraz: 39-64.
16. Sauer, E.W., 2011. ‘Religious Rituals at Springs in the Late Antique and Early Medieval World’, in Lavan, L. and Mulryan, M. (eds), The Archaeology of Late Antique ‘Paganism’, Leiden: Late Antique Archaeology 7 (Brill): 505-550.
17. Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E.W., Nokandeh, J. and Wilkinson, T., 2010. ‘At the frontiers of the Sasanian Empire: the Gorgan and Tammishe Walls in northern Iran’, in Matthiae, P., Pinnock, F., Nigro, L. and Marchetti, N., with Romano, L. (eds), Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, 5 May – 10 May 2008, »Sapienza«, Università di Roma 2. Excavations, Surveys and Restorations: Reports on Recent Field Archaeology in the Near East, Wiesbaden: 599-611.
18. Sauer, E.W., Omrani Rekavandi, H., Nokandeh, J. and Wilkinson, T., 2009. ‘Die sasanidischen Grenzwälle im Nord-Iran’, in Nunn, A. (ed.), Mauern als Grenzen, Mainz: 126-143, 212-215.
19. Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E.W., Wilkinson, T., Abbasi, G.A., Priestman, S., Safari Tamak, E., Ainslie, R., Mahmoudi, M., Galiatsatos, N., Roustai, K., Jansen Van Rensburg, J., Ershadi, M., MacDonald, E., Fattahi, M., Oatley, C., Shabani, B., Ratcliffe, J. Usher-Wilson, L.S., 2008. ‘Sasanian Walls, Hinterland Fortresses and Abandoned Ancient Irrigated Landscapes: the 2007 Season on the Great Wall of Gorgan and the Wall of Tammishe.’ Iran 46: 151-178.
20. Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E.W., Wilkinson, T., Safari Tamak, E., Ainslie, R., Mahmoudi, M., Griffiths, S., Ershadi, M., Jansen Van Rensburg, J., Fattahi, M., Ratcliffe, J., Nokandeh, J., Nazifi, A., Thomas, R., Gale, R. and Hoffmann, B., 2007. ‘An Imperial Frontier of the Sasanian Empire: further fieldwork at the Great Wall of Gorgan.’ Iran 45: 95-136.
21. Sauer, E.W., 2007. ‘The Tom Hassall Lecture for 2005: Alchester: Origins and Destiny of Oxfordshire’s earliest Roman Site.’ Oxoniensia 71, for 2006: 1-29, pls IV-V.
22. Sauer, E.W., 2007. ‘Native deities in southern Germany in the Roman period’, in Gilmour, L. (ed.), Pagans and Christians – from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Papers in honour of Martin Henig, presented on the occasion of his 65th birthday. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports (Archaeopress), International Series 1610: 13-45.
23. Nokandeh, J., Sauer, E.W., Omrani Rekavandi, H., Wilkinson, T., Abbasi, G.A., Schwenninger, J.-L., Mahmoudi, M., Parker, D., Fattahi, M., Usher-Wilson, L.S., Ershadi, M., Ratcliffe, J. and Gale, R., 2006. ‘Linear Barriers of Northern Iran: The Great Wall of Gorgan and the Wall of Tammishe.’ Iran 44: 121-173.
24. Sauer, E.W., 2006. ‘Fortress Annexes: a possible clue to instability and insurgency during Rome’s conquest of southern Britain?’ in Ottaway, P. (ed.), A Victory Celebration: Papers on the Archaeology of Colchester and Late Iron Age-Roman Britain presented to Philip Crummy, Colchester: 27-41, 136 pl. 5 (cf. 139-46: bibliography for this and all other contributions).
25. Grant, A. and Sauer, E.W., 2006. ‘The aurochs, nature worship and exploitation in eastern Gaul.’ Antiquity 80/309: 622-637.
26. Sauer, E.W., 2005. ‘Inscriptions from Alchester: Vespasian’s base of the Second Augustan Legion(?)’ Britannia 36: 101-133.
27. Sauer, E.W., 2005. ‘Forum Germanorum in north-west Italy: the home community and life of arguably the earliest known legionary veteran in Britain.’ Oxford Journal of Archaeology 24.2: 199-214.
28. Sauer, E.W., 2004. ‘Not just small change - Coins in Mithraea’, in Martens, M. and De Boe, G. (eds), Roman Mithraism: the Evidence of the Small Finds. Papers of the international conference/ Bijdragen van het internationaal congres, Tienen 7-8 November 2001. Brussels: Archeologie in Vlaanderen Monografie 4: 327-353.
29. Sauer, E.W., 2004. ‘Introduction’, in Sauer, E.W. (ed.), Archaeology and Ancient History: breaking down the boundaries. London and New York: 3-16.
30. Sauer, E.W., 2004. ‘The disunited subject: human history’s split into “history” and “archaeology”’, in Sauer, E.W. (ed.), Archaeology and Ancient History: breaking down the boundaries. London and New York: 17-45.
31. Sauer, E.W., 2004. ‘A matter of personal preference? The relevance of different territories and types of evidence for Roman history’, in Sauer, E.W. (ed.), Archaeology and Ancient History: breaking down the boundaries. London and New York: 114-133.
32. Sauer, E.W., 2002. ‘The Roman invasion of Britain (AD 43) in imperial perspective: a response to Frere and Fulford.’ Oxford Journal of Archaeology 21.4: 333-363.
33. Sauer, E.W., with contr. by Cooper, N.J., Dannell, G.B., Dickinson, B., Erwin, P., Grant, A., Henig, M., McDonald, A.W. and Robinson, M., 2001. ‘Alchester, a Claudian ‘vexillation fortress’ near the western boundary of the Catuvellauni, new light on the Roman invasion of Britain.’ The Archaeological Journal 157, for 2000: 1-78.
34. Sauer, E.W., 2000. ‘The Augustan coins from Bourbonne-les-Bains (Haute-Marne) - a mathematical approach to dating a coin assemblage.’ Revue Numismatique 154, for 1999: 145-182, pls. XXIX-XXX.
35. Sauer, E.W., with contr. by Crutchley, S. and Erwin, P., 1999. ‘The Military Origins of the Roman Town of Alchester, Oxfordshire.’ Britannia 30: 289-297, pl. XXIV.
36. Sauer, E.W. 1999. ‘The Augustan army spa at Bourbonne-les-Bains’, in Goldsworthy, A. and Haynes, I. (eds), The Roman Army as a community. Including papers of a conference held at Birkbeck College, University of London on 11-12 January, 1997. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series No. 34, Portsmouth, Rhode Island: 52-79.
37. Sauer, E.W., with contr. by Strange, V., 1999. ‘In Search of the Port-way: Excavations in the Area of the Moated Site North of St. Mary’s Church in Kidlington.’ Oxoniensia 63, for 1998: 11-22.
38. Sauer, E.W., 1998. ‘M. Annius Florianus: Ein Drei-Monate-Kaiser und die ihm zu Ehren aufgestellten Steinmonumente (276 n.Chr.).’ Historia 47.2: 174-203
39. Sauer, E.W., 1996. ‘An inscription from northern Italy, the Roman temple complex in Bath, and Minerva as a healing goddess in Gallo-Roman religion.’ Oxford Journal of Archaeology 15.1: 63-93.