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Daagan del

Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

June 5, 2013 to July 5, 2013

Session dates: 
Participants should plan to schedule their arrival in Ulanbaatar a few days ahead of the project start date.

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Program Type


RPA certified



National Museum of Mongolia

Project Director:

J. Bayarsaikhan, Curator and Archaeologist

Project Description

This project aims to explore important themes of prehistoric mortuary-ritual and human-environment relationships and to provide a empirically driven perspective on prehistoric ritual remains and social/ritual interaction. The field research seeks to register and document Bronze Age Deer stone and Burial mound sites in the Zavhan province of Mongolia, as well as to excavate some ritual mounds of the Deer stone and Khirigsuur sites in the Daagan del of the Shiluustei sum  and Uguumur valley of the Telmen sum  site of Zavhan province. The targeted project province is poorly studied for Bronze Age archaeology except for some minimal survey during the middle of XX century.

 During the Middle and Late Bronze Age (1300-700 B.C.), monumental ritual/burial features (khirigsuurs and deer stones) were constructed throughout central and western Mongolia suggesting processes of ritual integration. Mongolia's Bronze Age deer stones are one of the most striking expressions of early monumental art in Central Asia, yet their age, origins, relationships, and meaning remain obscure. Speculation about Scythian connections has stimulated recent research in Mongolia that has begun to peel away their mysteries and reveals connections to Scytho-Siberian and northern art.

   The summer 2013 field season will include the following activities:

  • archaeological survey
  • excavation of ritual sites
  • ethnographic research
  • mapping
  • drawing and rubbing
  • artifact analysis

Participants of the “Daagan del” Archaeology Project will be trained in proper archaeological methods according to their interests.

Period(s) of Occupation: Middle and Late Bronze Age (1500-500 B.C.)

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Living conditions are quite rustic. There is no running water or electricity. All participants are required to bring a tent and their own camping gear. We will have common kitchen and laboratory space available. There is water nearby which we will filter for drinking.

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered none


Contact Information
J. Bayarsaikhan
P.O.Box-332. Juulchin Street 1. Ulaanbaatar 46. Mongolia
Recommended Bibliography: 

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. Bayarsaikhan,J. Peter Marsh. 2005. The Deer Stone Project Anthropological Studies in Mongolia”.Ulaanbaatar

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.

Fitzhugh, W. Bayarsaikhan,J. 2011.“Mapping Ritual Landscapes in Bronze Age Mongolia and Beyond: Interpreting the Ideoscape of the Deer Stone-Khirigsuur Complex”  Mapping Mongolia, Situating Mongolia in the World from Geologic Time to the Present. 166-192. 

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.

Turbat Ts.Bayarsaikhan J. Batsukh D. Bayarkhuu N. 2011. ‘Deer stones of the Jargalantyn Am site”Ulaanbaatar

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.