Location: Uvs, Mongolia
This collaborative project between Western Kentucky University and the National Museum of Mongolia aims to investigate human-environment relationships and understand the nature of the social, political, and economic organization of Bronze and Iron Age societies in the Zuunkhangai region of Mongolia through the use of landscape and settlement archaeology.
Located in the grasslands of northwestern Mongolia, the research area is dotted with archaeological sites that date from at least the Late Paleolithic and continues to be inhabited by nomadic pastoralists who have maintained much of their traditional lifeways.
Activities for the 2018 field season will include regional survey, excavation of human burials, ritual sites, and ancient nomadic pastoralist habitation sites. Participants will receive training in survey, proper methods of unearthing and documenting materials, and other related field and lab methods (see project’s website for details).
This project accommodates participants wishing to receive academic credit through WKU and those just willing to gain archaeological field experience.
For a full description, please download the 'Project Overview' through the Project's website.
It is also possible to apply online via the Project's website.
Period(s) of Occupation: Paleolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age,Turkic
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Whole Session
Room and Board Arrangements
We will stay in a school with beds/bunk beds in a local town surrounded by mobile pastoralist campsites. Participants on the project have many opportunities to meet local nomads and visit them in their gers. Participants must bring their own sleeping bag. Hired cooks will be responsible for buying and preparing all of the food consumed and cleaning up following meals.
Houle, Jean-Luc, 2016. Bronze Age Mongolia. Oxford Handbooks Online in Archaeology.
Houle, Jean-Luc, 2016. Long-Term Occupation and Seasonal Mobility in Mongolia: A comparative analysis of two mobile pastoralist communities. In Fitful Histories and Unruly Publics: The Archaeology of Eurasia from Past to Present, edited by Kathryn Weber, Emma Hite, Adam T. Smith, and Lori Khatchadourian. Oxford University Press.
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 Bryan K. Hanks, and K. M. Linduff. Cambridge University Press.
Houle, Jean-Luc and Lee Broderick. 2011. Settlement Patterns and Domestic Economy of the Xiongnu in Khanuy Valley, Mongolia. In Ursula Brosseder and Bryan K. Miller (eds.). Xiongnu Archaeology: Multidisciplinary Perspectives of the First Steppe Empire of Inner Asia. Bonn Contributions to Asian Archaeology, vol.5. Bonn: Bonn University Press.
Broderick, Lee G. and Jean-Luc Houle. 2013. More than Just Horse: Dietary Breadth and Subsistence in Bronze Age Central Mongolia. Mongolian Journal of Archaeology, Anthropology and Ethnology.
Houle, Jean-Luc and Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan, 2014. The Archaeological Heritage of Mongolia. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer.
Seitsonen, Oula, Jean-Luc Houle, and Lee G. Broderick. 2014. GIS Approaches to Past Mobility and Accessibility: An Example from the Bronze Age Khanuy Valley, Mongolia. In Past Mobilities: Archaeological Approaches to Movement and Mobility, edited by Jim Leary. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing.
Honeychurch, William. 2015. Inner Asia and the Spatial Politics of Empire: Archaeology, Mobility, and Culture. Springer.
Hanks, B. 2010. “Archaeology of the Eurasian Steppes and Mongolia.” Annual Review of Anthropology 39 (1): 469–486.
Allard, F. and D. Erdenebaatar. 2005. Khirigsuurs, Ritual and Mobility in the Bronze Age of Mongolia, Antiquity, 79(305): 547-563.
Volkov, V., V., Early Nomads of Mongolia, In Nomads of the Eurasian Steppes in the Iron Age, edited by J. Davis-Kimball, V. A. Bashilov and L. T. Yablonski, 319-333, 1995, Berkeley, California.