Archaeology of the Mongolian Steppe

Archaeology & Culture

Archaeology of the Mongolian Steppe

What archaeological treasures await researchers at the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve in Mongolia?

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve in Mongolia is home to the remains of thousands of years of human activities.

Help survey, chart, and plan for a major archaeological dig on a site that encompasses 6,000 years of human habitation.

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve in Mongolia is home to the remains of thousands of years of human activities. We need to know the kinds of archaeological sites, their locations, and their characteristics in order to develop a plan for conserving these fascinating remnants of human history.

The scientists have logged sites ranging from the New Stone Age (Neolithic) period about 6,000 years ago, an era marked by the domestication of herd animals, to sites from the Tibetan Buddhist period, from around the 13th century AD to 1937. Chronologically in between these are Bronze Age, Iron Age, Turkic, and Mongolian Empire sites.

The project has recorded burial features, structures, rock art, living sites, a stone tool quarry and workshop, and Buddhist monastery communities. It has also documented an array of artifacts: stone and metal arrowheads; ceramic vessel fragments from all periods; metal containers; horse trappings; a variety of stone cutting, piercing, and scraping tools; grinding implements; and metal tools and decorative items.

Archaeological site, Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Mongolia

Help survey, chart, and plan for a major archaeological dig.

The project has already recorded 70 sites that will be registered at the Mongolian Institute of Archaeology in Ulaanbaatar, and it has found and noted the GPS locations of many more. As an Earthwatch volunteer, you’ll help the scientists investigate and mark some of these for preservation.

About the research area

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Dornogobi Aimag, Mongolia, Asia

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:



The Scientists


Associate State Archaeologist, California Department of Parks and Recreation

ABOUT Joan Schneider

Dr. Joan S. Schneider manages the archaeological aspects of this project. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from the University of California, Riverside. Recently retired from her position as associate state archaeologist, Colorado Desert District, with the California State Parks, she continues to teach and pursue her research interests. Her archaeological research focuses on the reasons why prehistoric people (particularly women) chose certain stones for tools and vessels, and how the stone chosen relates to the tasks performed or uses of the artifacts. Dr. Schneider has worked for over 20 years in the deserts of the world, including the Colorado, Mojave, Sonoran, and Negev deserts. She has conducted field research projects in Israel and in Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks in the U.S., as well working as an archaeological field school director for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.



Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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