Location: Bayankhongor, Mongolia
The Northern Bayan-Khongor Project will take place in south-central Mongolia, concentrating on the Late Bronze to Late Iron Ages (ca. 1500 B.C. - 200 A.D.). This is a period when the Mongolian steppe became politically centralized and when the form of nomadic pastoralism associated with the country today emerged. Hence, the project aims to better understand the political and economic transitions of this time period through a comprehensive study of mortuary and habitation sites in the research area. Fieldwork will consist of pedestrian survey, excavation, and laboratory analysis. Archaeologically recovered remains will include lithics, ceramics, bioarchaeological and faunal remains, bronze and iron artifacts, and soils. Volunteers will be trained in all aspects of the project's methodology, and will have the opportunity to take part in each facet of fieldwork to gain familiarity with each phase of archaeological recovery. Participants will also gain experience recording mortuary stone monuments and archaeological sites using a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database. A brief summary of activities is as follows:
- Pedestrian Survey
- Data recording
- In-field Laboratory Analysis
In addition to this hands-on experience, the Project Directors and staff will provide informational seminars and discussions on topics germane to archaeological research in Mongolia.
The monument types that will be encountered are diverse, and include khirigsuurs, shape-burials, and quadrangular burials that date to the Late Bronze Age (1500-700 BCE), as well as slab burials and Xiongnu ring tombs that date to the Early Iron Age (700-200 BCE) and Iron Age 200 BCE-200 CE) respectively. Excavation will primarily center on Iron Age Xiongnu monuments.
Period(s) of Occupation: Late Bronze-Iron Age (1500 B.C. - 200 A.D.)
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks
Room and Board Arrangements
Academic CreditNumber of credits offered: none
Allard, F., and Erdenebaatar, D. 2005. “Khirigsuurs, Ritual and Mobility in the Bronze Age of Mongolia.” Antiquity 79 (1): 547–563.
Barfield, T. 1993. The Nomadic Alternative. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Bemmann, J., Parzinger, H., Pohl, E., and Tseveendorzh, D. (eds.). 2009. Current Archaeological Research in Mongolia: Papers from the First International Conference on “Archaeological Research in Mongolia” Held in Ulaanbaatar, August 19th-23rd, 2007. Universitait Bonn: Vor-und Fruhgeschichtliche Archaeologie Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms.
Derevianko, A. 1996. “Northern Asia and Mongolia (3000-700 BC).” In History of Humanity: From the Third Millennium to the Seventh Century B.C. (Dani, A.H., and Mohen, J.P., eds.), II:1026–1052. Routledge Press: Oxford.
Fitzhugh, W. 2009. “Pre-Scythian Ceremonialism, Deer Stone Art, and Cultural Intensification in Northern Mongolia.” In Social Complexity in Prehistoric Eurasia: Monuments, Metals, and Mobility (Hanks, B., and Linduff, K., Eds.), 378–411. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hanks, B. 2010. “Archaeology of the Eurasian Steppes and Mongolia.” Annual Review of Anthropology 39 (1): 469–486.
Kohl, P. 2007. The Making of Bronze Age Eurasia. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Lattimore, O. 1962. Nomads and Commissars: Mongolia Revisited. New York: Oxford University Press.
Volkov, V. 1995. “Early Nomads of Mongolia.” In Nomads of the Eurasian Steppes in the Early Iron Age (Davis-Kimball, J., Bashilov, V., and Yablonski, L., eds.), 319–332. Berkeley: Zinat Press.