NOMAD Science

Location: Soyo, Mongolia

June 17, 2019 to September 8, 2019

Session dates: 
Session I: Anti-looting, June 17 - July 7, 2019 Session II: Soyo Archaeology, July 8-29, 2019 Session III: Exploratory Taiga Pilot, July 29- August 16, 2019 Session IV: Ice-Patch Archaeology, August 18 - September 8, 2019

Application Deadline: 
Friday, February 15, 2019
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Deadline Type: 
Exact date

Flyer: PDF icon nomad_science_2019.pdf

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



NOMAD Science, Flinders University, American Center for Mongolian Studies, National Museum of Mongolia

Project Director:

Dr. Julia Clark and Dr. J. Bayarsaikhan

Project Description

Do you want to come to Mongolia with us? NOMAD Science is now assembling an international, interdisciplinary team to conduct fieldwork in northern Mongolia during the summer of 2019. No previous experience necessary. While many of our participants are working towards an archaeology degree, team members come from a variety of disciplines, educational backgrounds, generations, nationalities, etc. Whether this is a requirement for your bachelors/masters/PhD program, or you just want a once-in-a-lifetime experience, check out our 2019 program choices below.

Applications are due for early decision by February 15, 2019 a final due date on April 30th, 2019. Program costs are listed below for each session. For support in applying for external funding, please contact us. This fee covers all costs for the duration of the project for food, transportation, permits, and equipment. This does not include international travel to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, travel insurance, or personal camping gear. If you'd like to be a part of our 2019 team, you can access the application HERE

Below you will see a short description for each of the three sessions that make up NOMAD Science in 2018.

Session I: Salvage Archaeology and Field Conservation, June 17-July 7 (tentative)


Description: The looting of archaeological sites in Mongolia has become a big problem in recent years. Following up on NOMAD Science surveys (2017-2018) of looting activity in the Darkhad Depression, and initial salvage work (2018), this program will seek to identify, map, and research looting activity in the region. Efforts to date have recovered a great deal of fragile material including bone, wood, metal, textiles, and more. The team will then work to salvage any remaining artifacts at looted sites incorporating solid archaeological, bioarchaeological, and field conservation skills training.


Dates:June 17 – July 8, 2019 (tentative - to be confirmed soon)

Fee: $2,900  USD




Session II: Soyo Archaeology, July 8 - July 29


Description: Previous archaeological investigation at Soyo has revealed a complex, unique and important archaeological site that dates to at least 10,000 years before present. During this session, team members will continue to investigate the site through a variety of methods, including traditional archaeological excavation and survey, remote sensing (including geophysics and drone modelling), artifact analysis, ethnographic interviews, and more. The team will camp at our established campsite at Soyo that includes kitchen and laboratory facilities (Mongolian gers).


Dates: July 8 - July 29, 2019

Fee:  $2,900  USD


(For support in applying for external funding*, please contact us.)

*Australian applicants: A significant number of scholarships of up to $3,000 AUD are available based on merit and need through the generous support of the New Colombo Plan. More info to come on how to apply for this funding.

Session III: Cultural Heritage Tourism, July 29-August 16


Description: Partnering with the American Center for Mongolian Studies interdisciplinary field school, this session will engage trained international and Mongolian archeologists, together with field school participants, to explore a newly discovered archeological site dating from the Neolithic to more recent periods of settlement. Participants will engage in hands-on field archaeology, while also engaging with the large number of Mongolian and international tourists visiting the world famous Lake Hovsgol region. This session’s focus on public outreach and archaeotourism is unique among present Mongolian archaeology projects.

Dates: July 29 - August 16, 2019

Fee: $2,900  USD


(For support in applying for external funding*, please contact us.)

*American and Canadian applicants: A significant number of scholarships of up to $3,500 USD are available based on merit and need through the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation. More info to come on how to apply for this funding.

Session 4: Ice-Patch Archaeology, August 18 - September 8 (tentative)


Description: As ice and snow patches disappear at an alarming rate due to global climate change, they may be taking priceless archaeological resources that have been preserved in the ice and snow for centuries or even millennia. This project is aimed at monitoring changes in ice and snow patches, locating any archaeological resources within them, and studying the present day ethnographic use of these places. This session is very rewarding, but is by far our most challenging option. Accessing ice patches requires days of horseback riding, and hiking up steep slopes.

Dates: August 18 - September 8, 2019 (tentative - to be confirmed soon)


***Check back later - more information on this session coming soon!***


Period(s) of Occupation: Neolithic-Medieval (a lot of emphasis on Bronze Age)

Public outreach, citizen science, drones, GIS, Survey archaeology, excavation, horseback survey, taiga, reindeer herders, digital archaeology, conservation, ice-patch archaeology, geophysics, bioarchaeology

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
None - our participants are archaeology students at all levels, life-long-learners, and other interested travelers

Room and Board Arrangements

Camping - participants responsible for tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Three meals a day provided by project. Hired cook prepares all meals. Water can be purified using a pump/tablets/etc. from abundant local streams, rivers and lakes. 


Academic Credit

Number of credits offered None directly. We have worked with students' home institutions for independent study credits successfully on numerous occasions. Contact us for more information if desired.


Contact Information
Julia Clark
PO Box 394
Recommended Bibliography: 

Clark, Julia K. (2014) Modeling Late Prehistoric and Early Historic Pastoral Adaptation in Northern Mongolia's Darkhad Depression

Clark, Julia and Crabtree, Stefani (2015) Examining Social Adaptations in a Volatile Landscape in Northern Mongolia via the Agent-Based Model Ger Grouper. Special Issue “Agent-Based Modelling and Landscape Change”, Land 4:157-181.

Fitzhugh, William, editor (2005) The Deer Stone Project: Anthropological Studies in Mongolia 2002-2004. Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Hanks, Bryan K. (2010) Archaeology of the Eurasian Steppes and Mongolia. Annual Review of Anthropology 39:469-486.

Honeychurch, William, Joshua Wright, and Chuang Amartuvshin (2007) A Nested Approach to Survey in the Egiin Gol Valley, Mongolia. Journal of Field Archaeology 32:369-383.

Houle, Jean-Luc (2009) ‘Socially Integrative Facilities’ and the Emergence of Societal Complexity on the Mongolian Steppe. In Monuments, Metals and Mobility: Trajectories of Complexity in the Late Prehistory of the Eurasian Steppe, edited by B. K. Hanks and K. M. Linduff, pp. 358-377. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Janz, Lisa (2012) Chronology of Post-Glacial Settlement in the Gobi Desert and the Neolithization of Arid Mongolia and China. Unpublished PhD, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona.

Wright, Joshua (2006) The Adoption of Pastoralism in Northeast Asia: Monumental Transformation in the Egiin Gol Valley, Mongolia. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Harvard University.