NOMAD Science (Mongolia)

This listing expired on May 1, 2023. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: 9M2XR774+WF

Season: June 15, 2023 to August 30, 2023

Session Dates: Session I: Eroding Campsite June 15-July 7, 2022; Session II: Salvage Archaeology, July 3 -24, 2023; Session IIII: Taiga Archaeology, August 6-30, 2022

Application Deadline: April 1, 2023

Deadline Type: Contact for Details


Program Type:
Field School, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

NOMAD Science, Utah State University, Flinders University, Mongolian Institute of Archaeology

Project Director:
Dr. Julia Clark and Dr. J. Bayarsaikhan

Project Description:

Applications for the 2023 season are now open. If you are interested in preserving Mongolia’s cultural and natural heritage through research and public outreach, NOMAD Science assembles an annual international, interdisciplinary team to conduct fieldwork in northern Mongolia. This is a physically and mentally challenging opportunity with the promise of great adventure for the right type of person!

While many of our participants are working towards an archaeology degree, team members come from a variety of disciplines, educational backgrounds, generations, nationalities, etc. All of our programs feature cross-cultural collaboration, with approximately half of the team members being Mongolian and the other half foreign. Whether this is a requirement for your bachelors/masters/PhD program, or you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, check out our program choices below. No previous experience necessary for most of our programs.

If you find external funding that you’d like to apply for (it’s never too early!), and we can support you in any way (letters of support, brainstorming project ideas, looking over proposals, etc.) please contact us. The program 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. 

As always, NOMAD Science is grateful for the partnership of the Institute of Archaeology and co-director Dr. J. Bayarsaikhan for all of the programs listed below.

Session I: Eroding Campsite


4 spaces remaining! Rolling applications until filled or until April 1st.

Description: During this intensive, dynamic course, team members will be tasked with investigating and excavating a multi-component habitation site in northern Mongolia. Erosional activity has partially destroyed and exposed the site. Nomadic campsites can be difficult to locate, and so very few sites of this nature have been discovered and investigated in the region. Furthermore, deposition is typically shallow with little stratigraphic seperation. With intact hearths and meters of deposition, this site, first discovdered in 2022, is incredibly unique, complex, and important to understanding the prehistory and early history of Mongolia. Participants of this course will primarily learn mapping, excavation, and artifact identification and cataloging skills, with some additional opportunities for some archaeological survey.


Dates: June 15 – July 07, 2023

Fee: $3,450  USD

Wilderness First Responder and Survival Skills Course


A few spaces remaining!

Description: Researchers like those of NOMAD Science often find ourselves working in remote places. While this can be thrilling there are also many inherent risks. The intensive hands-on wilderness medicine and survival skills course in collaboration with SEEK Travels will take place in the Taiga of northern Mongolia not far from the other NOMAD Science program sites. As with all other NOMAD Science programs, transportation from Ulaanbaatar to the site and meals will be provided for all participants for the duration of the course, but participants must have their own personal camping gear. If you have questions about the course, be sure to contact us.


Dates: June 13 – July 3, 2023

Fees: $4,500 USD

Session II: Salvage Archaeology and Field Conservation



Course and waitlist full. Check out another course or check again next season.

Description: Building on the last 5 years of salvage work by NOMAD Science, this 3.5-week program is designed to identify and salvage threatened material related to illegal looting activity in northern Mongolia. Thieves have targeted nearly every known cemetery in the region, hauling away untold treasures and destroying much of Mongolia’s priceless cultural heritage. Our teams travel to these disturbed cemeteries and recover what we can – which has historically actually turned out to be quite a bit! Despite the missing components and jumbled contexts, archaeologists can still learn a lot about ancient peoples from what remains. However, without our intervention, much of what remains will decay, be destroyed, lost, or looted again. This program is designed for participants interested in cultural heritage preservation, field conservation, salvage archaeology, and bioarchaeology. Participants will be stationed at a base camp and travel to various nearby cemeteries on a daily basis. The remaining looted cemeteries are located on the tops of steep hills with limited access by vehicle, and so participants should be reasonably physically fit.


Dates: July 3-24, 2023

Fee:  $3,450  USD

Session III: Taiga Archaeology



Course and waitlist full. Check out another course or check again next season.

Description: Throughout this challenging but rewarding course, participants will travel by horseback and on foot through remote regions of Mongolia’s taiga and tundra to investigate known archaeological sites, discover and map new sites, and search for the source of the region’s rich stone tool industry. Preliminary work in the 2019 and 2020 field seasons has finally resulted in the discovery of several lithic scatters in the high mountain areas now occupied by reindeer herders. The team will return to these sites to collect and map these finds, will build predictive models to help locate new sites, will work with local reindeer herder communities to help interpret and share their findings, and will follow tips to locate important resources used by the region’s ancient people. This program is designed for fit, adventurous participants who are up for a physical and mental challenge, willing to work as a team, and who’s curiosity always leads them over the next ridge.


Dates: August 6-30, 2023

Fee: $3,950 USD

Period(s) of Occupation: Neolithic, Bronze Age, Medieval, Ethnoarchaeology

Public outreach, salvage archaeology, citizen science, drones, survey archaeology, excavation, horseback survey, taiga, reindeer herders, digital archaeology, conservation, geophysics, bioarchaeology, pastoralism, remote sensing, hunter-gatherers

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks

Minimum Age: 18 or accompanied by a guardian

Experience Required: None - our participants are archaeology students at all levels, life-long-learners, and other interested travelers. Attitude is much more important than experience as Mongolia can be challenging (though very rewarding). Some of our programs are physically challenging, so please contact us if you have any concerns about the suitability of the program and your own fitness or ability.

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.  Cost: $3450-$3950

Academic Credit:
Yes - through Utah State University or your own institutuion with prior arrangements made on request - contact us for more details!

Contact Information:

Julia Clark




United States

Phone: +1 (406) 218-1720 (USA)

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