NOMAD Science (Mongolia)

This listing expired on May 15, 2024. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: 9M2XR774+WF

Season: June 1, 2024 to August 31, 2024

Session Dates: Session I: June 1-27 Session II: July 1-22 Session III: August 1-26

Application Deadline: April 1, 2024

Deadline Type: Rolling


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 2024 season are now open (on a rolling basis until April 1st). Descriptions for each course are listed below. 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 for sessions 2 and 3. 

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: Experimental Archaeology, Survival Skills, and Wilderness First Responder

Description: Use experimental archaeology to approach some of the most important and interesting questions in the region’s archaeology while also being introducted to survival skills and critical wilderness medicine practices. Work with instructors to select, design, and implement an experimental archaeology project of your chosing. This program in collaboration with Seek Adventure Travels.


Dates: June 1 – 27, 2024

(Experimental Archaeology and Survival Skills only June 1-15; WFR only June 16-27)

Fee: $5,500  USD

(Experimental Archaeology and Survival Skills only $3,000; WFR only $2,900)

Session II: Salvage Archaeology and Field Conservation

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 1-22, 2024

Session III: Taiga Archaeology

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 1-36, 2024

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

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, experimental archaeology

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: $3950-$5,500

Academic Credit:
Yes - Contact us for more details!

Contact Information:

Julia Clark




United States

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

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