Monday, September 30, 2013

Before September ends

While it may appear that this blog has been derelict in its mission to keep interested parties updated on goings-on, adventures, and happenings here in Mongolia, it has simply been on an unintentional hiatus while I was conducting archaeological fieldwork.  But I could not let September pass without at least a brief post.

Archaeological fieldwork:

We went to Middle Earth Bulgan aimag in order to map the Xiongnu/Hunnu cemetery which my collaborators and I hope to start excavating next summer and to survey the surrounding areas for prehistoric herder campsites.

I hate it when I take a photo, only to realize I forgot to take off the One Ring.

Цагаан овоо looks like the Lonely Mountain, yes?

The cemetery at Baruun Mukhdagin Am (or Баруун Мухдагийн Ам, for those keeping score) and its 293 (!) surface features were successfully mapped with a Total Station:

Portion of the main cemetery at BMA.  Those grey piles are tomb surface features.  Shot taken facing the smaller multi-period cemetery across the ravine.
Galdan and Buhuu set up the Total Station.  Special thanks to Bill Honeychurch for lending us the equipment.  We took good care of it, I promise!
View of entire Baruun Mukhdagiin Am cemetery looking NE.  The tomb surface features are hard to discern from this distance but they are spread across the raised plateau area in the center of the image (squint and you can make out those same grey piles from before).
For most of the field season we stayed with a local family, renting out their spare ger and enjoying their amazing steppe hospitality:

Our ger, or A Ger With A View

View of the rest of the айл or ger camp from our ger.  We rented from an extended family of champion wrestlers, champion airag-drinkers, and champions of Mongolian drinking games.  Couldn't have asked for better hosts!
Ger, sweet ger!  ['Ger' means both 'house' and 'home' in Mongolia, so that saying kind of works]
View of the Derestei Valley, just west of the BMA cemetery, where our host family's fall camp (намаржаа) is located and where we found a few Xiongnu camp sites
There's a lot more to tell about our time in the field and a lot of great pictures that I didn't take to share with everyone.  However, it will have to wait until October!  Endless thanks to my excellent collaborators and our wonderful host family for such an amazing September!

*Note: post updated in March 2014 for spelling and minor corrections.

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