Archaeology Field School Location and Dates
Multiple Session information
Single session: June 21 - July 7, 2016
Archaeology Field School Location
Ulaanbaatar, Ar Janchivlan Valley (Tuv Province), and western Khentii Province
Archaeology Field School Tuition and Credits
None. Please confer with the program coordinator if you wish to petition your university for academic credit.
Archaeology Field School Tuition
$3,265 contribution that is tax-deductible when made to CSEN, a 501-c-3 US not-for-profit educational organization.
Archaeology Field School Room and Board
Included in the tax-deductible student contribution. Students should bring their own tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping mat for the field.
Archaeology Field School Travel
Students are responsible for their own travel to and from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Additional Information on Tution/Room and Board/Travel Costs
The student contribution covers the following:
-Lectures, seminars, Mongolian language classes, and lab practica sessions at the Mongolian University of Science & Technology (MUST) in Ulaanbaatar
-Archaeological field research equipment
-Airport pickup on June 20th and drop-off on July 8th at Chinggis Khan International Airport or the main railway station in Ulaanbaatar
-Shared rooms in a guesthouse with other archaeological field school students in Ulaanbaatar on the nights of June 20th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, and July 7th
-Three meals per day from June 21st through July 7th with the project team in Ulaanbaatar or prepared by the field cook in the basecamp (does not include: alcoholic beverages, dessert, espresso, or personal snacks. Please consult the Program Coordinator if you have any questions about what food and drink are covered in the student contribution)
-Entrance fees to all national parks, protected areas, museums, monasteries, and other sites listed in the program schedule (cultural enrichment activities)
-All in-country program-related transportation costs (does not include international airfare or train travel costs)
-Mongolian-English dual translation by program staff
-Program participant t-shirt
Archaeology Field School Description
The “Central Mongolian Nomads Project” is a joint endeavor of the Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads (CSEN) and the Department of Humanities at the Mongolian University of Science & Technology (MUST). The CSEN executive director, Dr. Jeannine Davis-Kimball, first collaborated with Dr. Lhagvasurengiin Erdenebold (now professor at MUST) in 2001 on an archaeological expedition in the Mongolian Altai. 15 years later, the “Central Mongolian Nomads Project” will inaugurate its first season as an archaeological field school and provide international students of all ages and backgrounds with archaeological field experience in the Mongolian context through original research, multidisciplinary learning activities, and cultural immersion.
Field school instructors will give lectures and lead seminars in Ulaanbaatar and in rural Mongolia, tailoring these activities to the practical work and original research of each portion of the program. Students will learn research methods in the lab (zooarchaeology, bioarchaeology, archaeological drawing, and ceramic analysis) and field (mapping, data recording, and pedestrian survey) under the guidance of experienced American and Mongolian archaeologists. The “Central Mongolian Nomads Project” will also provide instruction on Mongolian language, history, and cultures through a combination of classroom lessons and instructor-guided site visits in two regions (Ar Janchivlan Valley in Tuv Province and the western portion of Khentii Province). Students will receive a program syllabus detailing required readings and classroom activities via e-mail after they are officially enrolled in the field school.
Ar Janchivlan Valley is a locus of long-term cultural activity in Central Mongolia located near a modern shamanic center, the monumental Genghis Khan equestrian statue complex Tsonjin Boldog, and one of Mongolia’s most famous sites belonging to the Turk Empire. Ritual and mortuary sites from Bronze Age, Xiongnu, Turk, and Mongol periods dot this valley and nearby hills in Tuv Province, where local nomadic families herd animals through steppe pastureland and raptors fly overhead. Archaeologists from the Mongolian University of Science & Technology have conducted numerous field expeditions to Ar Janchivlan Valley in recent years to lay the groundwork for more targeted investigations. The research goals for the Central Mongolian Nomads Project in Ar Janchivlan Valley are:
1. Map the Xiongnu cemetery at Bishreltiin Am in order to understand the chronology and spatial organization of the site
2. Conduct pedestrian survey of the bordering slopes and southern portion of the valley in order to assess the presence of ancient herder campsites in close proximity to the highly visible ritual and mortuary sites
3. Contextualize the long-term cultural landscape of Ar Janchivlan Valley through recording visual and spatial data of sites discovered through reconnaissance and pedestrian survey in the northern floodplain and nearby hilltops
The famous Kherlen River separates Tuv Province from Khentii Province, the birthplace of Genghis Khan and the location of many Mongol imperial archaeological sites. Near Tuv Province’s eastern border, deep in the Khan-Khentii Protected Area, lies the sacred legendary burial ground of the Mongol imperial family at Burkhan Khaldun Mountain in the dark mountains of western Khentii Province. Elsewhere in western Khentii Province our team will conduct archaeological reconnaissance in a number of remote and/or rugged locations, pedestrian survey to record sites and monuments from a broad timespan, and critically compare the effectiveness of different methods of data recording and survey. The primary objectives for this second portion of the program’s field component are:
1. Expose students to the main types of archaeological features and significant time periods to broaden their perspective on Mongolian prehistory and history, creating a functional frame of reference for any future archaeological research in Mongolia
2. Test the appropriateness of data collection methods learned during survey in Ar Janchivlan Valley for use in a different region of Central Mongolia
3. Learn and compare survey methods for ephemeral site discovery in challenging ecological and topographical settings
4. Characterize the eastern margin of the Central Mongolian Nomads Project research area (western Khentii Province) from a long durée perspective
In addition to these activities, students will have opportunities to learn about and understand the broader cultural context in which our team’s research will take place. The Central Mongolian Nomads Project in particular and archaeological fieldwork in Mongolia in general operate within the current Mongolian socio-political climate, where cultural heritage preservation efforts, spiritual traditions, and indigenous understandings of history are negotiating the trials raised by a turbulent national economy and a rapidly-changing environment. Thus, students will broaden their view and expand their experience of Mongolian archaeology through other practical activities, including a visit to the home of local herders living in the traditional dwelling (ger), observing shamanic and Buddhist religious sites, and attending the annual summer naadam celebrations (one of the most important events of the Mongolian calendar) in a local community in Central Mongolia.
Archaeology Field School Additional Information
Archaeology Field School Type
Multi-period: special focus on Xiongnu Empire and Bronze Age
Field School Setting/Conditions
Ar Janchivlan Valley, approx. 2 hours drive east from the capital of Ulaanbaatar, is a locus of long-term cultural activity in Central Mongolia located near a modern shamanic center, the monumental Genghis Khan equestrian statue complex Tsonjin Boldog, and one of Mongolia’s most famous sites belonging to the Turk Empire. Ritual and mortuary sites from Bronze Age, Xiongnu, Turk, and Mongol periods dot this valley and nearby hills in Tuv Province, where local nomadic families herd animals through steppe pastureland and raptors fly overhead. Archaeologists from the Mongolian University of Science & Technology have conducted numerous field expeditions to Ar Janchivlan Valley in recent years to lay the groundwork for more targeted investigations.
The famous Kherlen River separates Tuv and Khentii Provinces, the birthplace of Genghis Khan and the location of many Mongol imperial archaeological sites. In western Khentii Province our team will conduct archaeological reconnaissance in a number of remote and/or rugged locations, pedestrian survey to record sites and monuments from a broad timespan, and critically compare the effectiveness of different methods of data recording and survey.
In both general locations the project team will form a basecamp of individual tents and a rented kitchen ger (yurt).
How is the project area accessed each day
Ar Janchivlan Valley is relatively accessible for a location in rural Mongolia. A two-hour drive on mostly paved road separates the site from Ulaanbaatar. Western Khentii Province is much more remote. Much of the project's time in Khentii will be a considerable distance from paved road and out of cell reception areas.
What is the daily schedule for the field school
Please visit the program website to download the student handbook, which lists full field school schedule information.
Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation
2016 is the first year
Is there a professional certification for this field school
Directors and Instructors
Director: Lhavgasurengiin Erdenebold (PhD) - Dr. Erdenebold is a professor of archaeology at the Mongolian University of Science & Technology in Ulaanbaatar. Dr. Erdenebold has led numerous archaeological expeditions throughout Mongolia, published a variety of archaeological monographs, and collaborated on many international projects researching Mongolia's past.
Field instructor & program coordinator: Emma Hite (MA) - Ms. Hite has been working in Mongolia as an archaeologist since 2005 and is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at The University of Chicago. She is currently conducting dissertation research on the human-animal relationships of the Xiongnu Empire.
Field instructor: Chuluunkhuugiiin Vanchigdash (MA) - Mr. Vanchigdash is a lecturer in archaeology and history at the Mongolian University of Science & Technology. He has previously conducted research in Ar Janchivlan Valley and worked on many other survey and excavation projects throughout Mongolia. His ongoing dissertation research focuses on mortuary ritual in the Xiongnu Empire.
Specialized skills you will have the opportunity to learn
Introductory archaeological lab methods including: Bioarchaeology, Zooarchaeology, Archaeological drawing, and Ceramic analysis; Archaeological survey; Introduction to Mongolian language
On rain days will there be lab work?
No, but field school instructors will design other activities in the event of inclement weather impacting a given day's fieldwork plans.
Will there be additional organized activities?
Yes - the 2016 field school incorporates a number of cultural enrichment activities. These include: guided exploration of a variety of museums, monuments, and other sites of historical or cultural significance; visits with local nomads (dependent upon opportunity); and attending a local naadam festival.
Will there be additional organized activities?
Sometimes - if we cannot cover the day's intended seminar or lecture topic during normal fieldwork hours, we will continue into the evening or reschedule for the weekend.
Is travel restriced during free time?
Field school students will have little opportunity or time for travel beyond program activities.
Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website
Field School Website:
http://csen.org/Central Mongolian Nomads Project/Central Mongol Nomads Index.html
Field School Contact Information
Emma Hite: program coordinator and field instructor
Field School Contact E-mail:
Be sure to let the program know you heard about their field school on http://www.ShovelBums.org:
Field School Contact Website: