Incidentals

Bymbadorj, a Mongol museum worker from Ulaangoom (and a professional mountain climber), spent most of the summer with us at Beiram. He was particularly helpful because he knew the region, the people, and the archaeological monuments. Down the ridge to the southeast of Beiram, Bymbadorj discovered an ancient iron smelter (no. 36), revealed when the top humus soil slipped away on the steep slope. We had noted the red iron deposits in the adjacent hills. Although we dug a test pit at the site, we found no datable artifacts but because the slag deposit were under a thick layer of humus, the smelter functioned perhaps during Mongol times (12th century) or possibly during the Manchu period. The proximity of the smelter also may account for the many iron objects that were offerings in the Beiram mound. We had a saying at Beiram: “Regardless of what the weather is, it will change in a couple of hours.” This was true except for the wind storms in June which were cold and very strong. Several times lasted up to three days (nos 36-39). Local Mongol nomads, whose summer pastures were down on the lower slopes of the Altai Mountains, frequently visited us (no. 40). American volunteers, Mongol archaeology students and their teachers, as well as the Mongol camp personnel all contributed to the success of the project (no. 41). A special thanks goes to our corporate sponsors (see the CSEN Website home page).

36. An ancient iron smelting site
37. July snowstorm
39. Results of windstorm
40. Mongol visitors
41. Americans and Mongol archaeologists and staff
42. Rainbow at Beiram