NOMAD Science (Mongolia)

COVID-19 NOTICE: Please be sure to reach out to the project contact to find out the status of their upcoming season. Many projects have altered fieldwork plans and the information below may not reflect that.

Location: Tugul, Mongolia

Season: June 15, 2022 to September 5, 2022

Session Dates: Session I: Survey and Salvage Archaeology, June 15-July 10, 2022; Session II: Salvage Archaeology, July 13 - August 8, 2022; Session IIII: Taiga Archaeology, August 11 - September 5, 2022

Application Deadline: February 15, 2022

Deadline Type: Contact for Details


Program Type:
Field School, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

NOMAD Science, Utah State University, Flinders University, National Museum of Mongolia

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

Project Description:

NOMAD Science is an international, interdisciplinary team of scholars passionate about Mongolian cultural heritage seeking like minded individuals to join our four unique fieldwork opportunities in northern Mongolia during June/July/August of 2022. 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 2022 program choices below.

Applications are due for early decision by February 15, 2022 a final due date for any remaining slots on April 1st, 2022. 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. 

Below you will see a short description for each of the four sessions that make up NOMAD Science in 2022.

Session I: Survey and Salvage Archaeology

Description: During this intensive, dynamic course, team members will be tasked with travelling to many different parts of Huvsgul province to locate and map archaeological sites with a focus on determining the scale of looting activity in the region. Illegal looting activity has been particularly destructive in this region of northern Mongolia, and it is hoped that this survey will provide a rich dataset to help understand the severity of the problem, what has been lost, what is salvageable, and the nature of looting with a goal of curbing future destruction of priceless archaeological sites. This program is designed for fit, adventure-minded participants who relish a physical and mental challenge. They will travel by 4WD, on foot, and by horse and will be rewarded with the comradery of passionate like-minded cultural heritage enthusiasts, amazing views and breathtaking campsites.

Dates: June 15 – July 10, 2022
Fee: $3,100  USD

Session II: Salvage Archaeology and Field Conservation

Description: Building on the last 4 years of salvage work by NOMAD Science, this 3.5-week program is designed to 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.

Dates: July 13 – August 8, 2022
Fee:  $3,100  USD

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 field season 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 – in particular the location of stone quarries. 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 11 – September 5, 2022
Fee: $3,950 USD

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

Public outreach, citizen science, drones, GIS, 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: 3.5 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). The only exception is Session IV: Ice Patch Archaeology - we are requiring some mountaineering experience this year as we will be going to some truly hard to get to sites at high altitude.

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: $3100-$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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