Archaeology and History of Central Asia- Field School and Summer Program

This listing expired on December 30, 2019. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Dali/Tasbas, MO, US

Season: May 30, 2018 to June 30, 2018

Application Deadline: February 10, 2018

Deadline Type: Contact for details


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

Washington University in St. Louis

Project Director:
Dr. Michael Frachetti

Project Description:

The Washington University in St. Louis’s Summer program offers undergraduate students a rare opportunity to travel to Kazakhstan, the largest of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Throughout the trip, a variety of excursions and activities will complement archaeology-based coursework and provide opportunities for intensive language immersion (Russian), and deeper insight into the nomadic culture of Kazakhstan, as well as its modern urban population who inhabit its largest city, Almaty.

Archaeological research in Kazakhstan is providing new evidence for Eurasia’s earliest nomadic communities as well as key discoveries that document the oldest known evidence for trade between SW Asia and China. The curriculum will focus on the culture and lifeways of local nomadic pastoralists and their role in shaping wide scale regional networks that crossed Eurasia since 2000 BC. Students will, thus, investigate the cultural remains of more than 4000 years of regional interaction among these groups. They will have the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking discoveries through involvement in archaeological excavations at the Tasbas/Dali nomadic site complex, located directly along the fabled ‘Silk Roads’ of Eurasia.

The archaeological excavation is located amongst the stunning environmental backdrop of the upland ranges and grasslands of the Dzhungar Mts. Over the course of the project students will be trained in modern and digital field strategies by teams of specialists. Archaeological field studies will be based around the combination of multi-disciplinary methods for data recovery, processing, and analysis. These include the use of historical mapping and archival studies, geomorphological modeling and analysis, topographic land survey and excavation, material analysis and phylogeny (paleobotany, zooarchaeology, artifact study), and spatial analysis and GIS mapping. Students will come away from the program having learned scientific methods in archaeology, the prehistory of Inner Asia, and also having experienced highland hiking trips and excursions, as well as cultural events in urban and rural settings.

Period(s) of Occupation: Bronze Age, Iron Age,

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 month

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: None, Everyone is welcome

Room and Board Arrangements:
The team stays in hotels when in the city (Almaty) and eats at restaurants.  In the field (3.5 weeks) we stay in a tent camp, with a wonderful chef!)  The camp is located in a beautiful natural setting at 1500 m elevation, so its mountainous.  Cost: $5500 (includes tuition (6 transfer credits) and all in country costs; individual airfare is separate)

Academic Credit:
6 credits offered by Washington University. Tuition is .

Contact Information:

Michael Frachetti

1 Brookings Drive, McMillan Hall

Saint Louis



United States

Phone: 3149355870

Fax: 3149355870

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