The Baga Gazaryn Chuluu Survey Project



From June through July 2004, American and Mongolian archaeologists will continue a full-coverage pedestrian survey of a remote section of the desert-steppe zone of Middle Gobi province in Mongolia. The research site of Baga Gazaryn Chuluu is famous for its majestic granite peaks, wildlife, and labyrinthine desert canyons. Gobi horse herds and camels are common sites among the peaks as are the Mongolian nomads who inhabit this area today. Baga Gazaryn Chuluu is set in the harsh environment of the Mongolian desert-steppe but will appeal to those who enjoy a real challenge.

2002 will be the second field season of the Baga Gazaryn Chuluu survey project. We hope to survey approximately 130 sq km of land on the north and northeast side of the ridge formation, extending outward into the desert-steppe. The 2003 season provided evidence for a large number of stone features dated to the 2nd and 1st millenniums BC as well as Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age and Medieval habitation sites. Ancient petroglyphs can be discovered on the granite outcrops at Baga Gazaryn Chuluu and stone steles, erected by early Turkic nomads, have been located in the main valley running between the towering peaks.

We are in search of a group of volunteers who will assist archaeologists from U.S. and Mongolian research institutions in conducting the survey and assisting with several small-scale excavations of burial and habitation sites dated to the Bronze and Early Iron Age (800 - 400 BC). Our project is supported by the Mongolian Institute of Archaeology in Ulaanbaatar and we will be joined by Mongolian archaeologists and students who will collaborate in both the survey and excavations. The Baga Gazaryn Chuluu region contains a wealth of archaeological sites and the research program of the 2004 season will help us and other researchers better understand the extraordinary nomadic culture of Mongolia that gave rise to some of the most powerful land empires on earth.
Volunteers with a variety of backgrounds are invited to work with us at Baga Gazaryn Chuluu and will have opportunities to learn and practice a wide range of field skills including ground survey, site mapping, use of GPS and GIS, site excavation, and artifact processing. In addition, we will take time to visit local nomadic families, search the granite peaks for wild Mongolian sheep, and attempt to ride Bactrian camels. We also expect to make several jeep trips into the true sand Gobi of Mongolia to the south in order to collect ore samples and to visit archaeological sites known from Mongolian research reports. There are two volunteer sessions available and a moderate tax deductible donation is requested to help us meet the expenses of the expedition.

Please join us this coming summer at Baga Gazaryn Chuluu! More information and applications are available on the web-pages at the Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads (CSEN). We welcome any questions regarding the summer 2004 expedition. All applications must be submitted to CSEN by April 15, 2004 for those wishing to participate in either of the three week sessions offered for next summer. We look forward to seeing you in Mongolia!

William Honeychurch, Project Director
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution


Participant Application


Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads

Baga Gazaryn Chuluu Survey

2158 Palomar Ave.

Ventura, CA 93001 USA



Please join us this coming summer at Baga Gazaryn Chuluu!. More information and applications are available on these Web Pages. We welcome any questions regarding the summer 2006 expedition.

Carefully note the deadline for submitting applications and deposits to CSEN. We look forward to seeing you in Mongolia!