SUMMER ARCHAEOLOGY IN MONGOLIA
From June through July 2004, American and Mongolian archaeologists
will continue a full-coverage pedestrian survey of a remote section
of the desert-steppe zone of Middle Gobi province in Mongolia. The
research site of Baga Gazaryn Chuluu is famous for its majestic granite
peaks, wildlife, and labyrinthine desert canyons. Gobi horse herds
and camels are common sites among the peaks as are the Mongolian nomads
who inhabit this area today. Baga Gazaryn Chuluu is set in the harsh
environment of the Mongolian desert-steppe but will appeal to those
who enjoy a real challenge.
2002 will be the second field season of the Baga Gazaryn Chuluu survey
project. We hope to survey approximately 130 sq km of land on the
north and northeast side of the ridge formation, extending outward
into the desert-steppe. The 2003 season provided evidence for a large
number of stone features dated to the 2nd and 1st millenniums BC as
well as Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age and Medieval habitation sites.
Ancient petroglyphs can be discovered on the granite outcrops at Baga
Gazaryn Chuluu and stone steles, erected by early Turkic nomads, have
been located in the main valley running between the towering peaks.
We are in search of a group of volunteers who will assist archaeologists
from U.S. and Mongolian research institutions in conducting the survey
and assisting with several small-scale excavations of burial and habitation
sites dated to the Bronze and Early Iron Age (800 - 400 BC). Our project
is supported by the Mongolian Institute of Archaeology in Ulaanbaatar
and we will be joined by Mongolian archaeologists and students who
will collaborate in both the survey and excavations. The Baga Gazaryn
Chuluu region contains a wealth of archaeological sites and the research
program of the 2004 season will help us and other researchers better
understand the extraordinary nomadic culture of Mongolia that gave
rise to some of the most powerful land empires on earth.
Volunteers with a variety of backgrounds are invited to work with
us at Baga Gazaryn Chuluu and will have opportunities to learn and
practice a wide range of field skills including ground survey, site
mapping, use of GPS and GIS, site excavation, and artifact processing.
In addition, we will take time to visit local nomadic families, search
the granite peaks for wild Mongolian sheep, and attempt to ride Bactrian
camels. We also expect to make several jeep trips into the true sand
Gobi of Mongolia to the south in order to collect ore samples and
to visit archaeological sites known from Mongolian research reports.
There are two volunteer sessions available and a moderate tax deductible
donation is requested to help us meet the expenses of the expedition.
Please join us this coming summer at Baga Gazaryn Chuluu! More information
and applications are available on the web-pages at the Center for
the Study of Eurasian Nomads (CSEN). We welcome any questions regarding
the summer 2004 expedition. All applications must be submitted to
CSEN by April 15, 2004 for those wishing to participate in either
of the three week sessions offered for next summer. We look forward
to seeing you in Mongolia!
National Museum of Natural History