Relevant Readings for NOMAD Science 2019

Thank you for taking the time to do some reading ahead! While optional, it will surely make your experience richer on site. In this document, we will make some suggestions for reading – pick and choose what suits you and your interests. For those of you wanting a little guidance, I will mark a small number of my most highly recommended reads with a “*” to get you started. All readings are in English (if you read Russian or Mongolian, you will have access to a lot more readings!), and should be relatively easy to find through your home university library, it’s online journal databases, google scholar, and the like – but if you have trouble accessing one, let Dr. Clark know ( and we’ll work to get you the material.

In the post-democratic revolution days when westerners began working as archaeologists in Mongolia again (WAYYYY back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s), it was easy to know everyone and keep up with all available English language materials, but these days the field is booming! This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather a sample platter that gives you a taste for things. However, if you find a particularly interesting article not on this list, please post and share on the facebook page for the group to enjoy, along with your comments indicating why it is an interesting and important read. We also encourage questions and comments to be shared with the group. Archaeology is an ever evolving field, and these articles were selected not because they are perfect, but because they add to our knowledge. I encourage you to read all of them with an open, but sceptical mind – do not be afraid to discuss, criticize and question any of the assertions in them.

Below you will find the following sections:

  • Regional Context and Summaries

  • Mongolian Archaeology – the Monuments

  • Mongolian Archaeology – the Other Stuff

  • Research Themes

  • Public Archaeology

  • Readings for the General Public


Mongolia is the location of our work, but the larger region must be considered because of the importance of context, but also because modern geopolitical borders don’t mean a whole lot when we travel 1000’s of years back into the past. These materials will give you a better grasp of the wider regional context, research priorities, and history of archaeology in the broader area.

Christian, David

1998 A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Volume I Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Mongol Empire. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.

Frachetti, Michael

2008 Pastoralist Landscapes and Social Interaction in Bronze Age Eurasia. University of California Press, Berkeley.

2013 "Bronze Age pastoralism and differentiated landscapes along the Inner Asian Mountain Corridor." Connections and Complexity: New Approaches to the Archaeology of South Asia: 279-298.

*Hanks, Bryan

2010 "Archaeology of the Eurasian steppes and Mongolia." Annual Review of Anthropology 39:469-486.

Hanks, Bryan K., and Katheryn M. Linduff

2009 Social Complexity in Prehistoric Eurasia: Monuments, Metals, and Mobility. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Jordan, Peter (editor)

2011 Landscape and Culture in Northern Eurasia. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California.

*Outram, Alan K., Natalie A. Stear, Robin Bendrey, Sandra Olsen, Alexei Kasparov, Victor Zaibert, Nick Thorpe, Richard P. Evershed

2009 The Earliest Horse Harnessing and Milking. Science 323:1332-1335.

Weber, Andrzej W.

1995 The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of the Lake Baikal Region: A Review of Recent Research. Journal of World Prehistory, 9(1):99-165.

Weber, Andrzej W., M.Anne Katzenberg, and Theodore G. Schurr (editors)

2010 Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Baikal Region, Siberia: Bioarchaeological Studies of Past Life Ways. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia.


When one travels to Mongolia with an interest in archaeology, it is the monuments that are first apparent. The regions’ nomadic people have long been building earth and stone structures to indicate important places on the landscape, memorialize important people, mark the graves of loved ones, and serve other spiritual and ceremonial purposes. The readings below will discuss what we know about these monuments – particularly those of the Bronze Age.

*Allard, Francis and Diimaajav Erdenebaatar

2005 Khirigsuurs, Ritual and Mobility in the Bronze Age of Mongolia. Antiquity 79(305):547-563.

Allard, Francis, Diimaajav Erdenebaatar, Natsagyn Batbold, and Bryan Miller

2002 A Xiongnu Cemetery Found in Mongolia. Antiquity 76(293): 637-638.

*Fitzhugh, William W.

2009 "The Mongolian Deer Stone-Khirigsuur Complex: Dating and Organiation of a Late Bronze Age Menagerie." Current archaeological research in Mongolia.

Wright, Joshua

2007 Organizational Principles of Khirigsuur Monuments in the Lower Egiin Gol Valley, Mongolia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26:350-365.

Zazzo, Antoine, Sébastien Lepetz, Jérôme Magail, and Jamyian-Ombo Gantulga.

2019 "High-precision dating of ceremonial activity around a large ritual complex in Late Bronze Age Mongolia." Antiquity 93, no. 367: 80-98.


Though historically, archaeology in Mongolia has been mostly concerned with monuments, burials ceremonial sites, etc., most of the work of NOMAD Science does NOT focus on these kinds of sites. Rather, NOMAD Science takes a landscape approach – locating and researching ALL of the kinds of archaeological materials within a given landscape to understand the system as a whole. Therefore, we spend a lot of time at settlement/camp sites which are little studied and understood up to now. Below are readings that push beyond the study of monuments, though they may incorporate them. Many of these are PhD Dissertations – don’t read them cover to cover, but a good skim could be warranted!

*Clark, Julia

2014 Modeling Late Prehistoric and Early Historic Pastoral Adaptations in Northern Mongolia’s Darkad Depression. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

Clark, Julia, and Stefani Crabtree

2015 "Examining social adaptations in a volatile landscape in Northern Mongolia via the agentbased model Ger grouper." Land 4, no. 1: 157-181.

Honeychurch, William

2004 Inner Asian Warriors and Khans: A Regional Spatial Analysis of Nomadic Political Organization and Interaction. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University of Michigan.

*Honeychurch, William, Joshua Wright, and Chunag Amartuvshin.

2007 "A nested approach to survey in the Egiin Gol valley, Mongolia." Journal of Field Archaeology 32, no. 4: 369-383.

Houle, Jean-Luc

2010 "Emergent complexity on the Mongolian steppe: Mobility, territoriality, and the development of early nomadic polities." Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

Janz, Lisa

2012 Chronology of Post-Glacial Settlement in the Gobi Desert and the Neolithization of Arid Mongolia and China. Unpublished PhD, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona.

Makarewicz, Cheryl A.

2014 Winter Pasturing Practices and Variable Fodder Provisioning Detected in Nitrogen and Carbon Isotopes in Sheep Dental Collagen. Journal of Archaeological Science, 41:502-510.

Sturm, Camilla, Julia K. Clark, and Loukas Barton.

2016 "The logic of ceramic technology in marginal environments: implications for mobile life." American Antiquity 81, no. 4 (2016): 645-663.

Taylor, William Timothy Treal, Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan, and Tumurbaatar Tuvshinjargal.

2015 "Equine cranial morphology and the identification of riding and chariotry in late Bronze Age Mongolia." Antiquity 89, no. 346: 854-871.

Wright, Joshua

2006 The Adoption of Pastoralism in Northeast Asia: Monumental Transformation in the Egiin Gol Valley, Mongolia. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Harvard University.

Wright, Joshua, William Honeychurch, and Chunag Amartuvshin

2009 The Xiongnu Settlements of Egiin Gol, Mongolia. Antiquity 83:372-387.


Of course, the archaeology of Mongolia is not happening in a bubble – there is research that is critical to what we do that is either NOT just about Mongolia (eg. mobility, pastoralism, etc. in other places), or NOT just about archaeology (eg. Ethnography, ecology, etc.). The following are key readings that fall into these categories.

Barnard, Hans and Willeke Wendrich (editors)

2008 The Archaeology of Mobility: Old World and New World Nomadism. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles.

Bright, Jason R. and Andrew Ugan

1999 Ceramics and Mobility: Assessing the Role of Foraging Behavior and Its Implications for Culture History. Utah Archaeology 12: 17-29.

*Cribb, Roger

1991 Nomads in Archaeology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Endicott, Elizabeth

2012 A History of Land Use in Mongolia: The Thirteenth Century to the Present. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E. (editor)

1999 Sustaining the Steppes: A Geographical History of Pastoral Land Use in Mongolia. Geographical Review. 89(3):315-342.

2012 Restoring Community Connections to the Land: Building Resilience through Community-Based Rangeland Management in China and Mongolia. CABI, Wallingford and Cambridge.

*Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E., Niah H. Venable, Jay Angerer, Steven R. Fassnacht, Robin S. Reid, and J. Khishigbayar.

2017 "Exploring linked ecological and cultural tipping points in Mongolia." Anthropocene 17: 46-69.

Fijn, Natasha

2011 Living with Herds: Human-Animal Coexistence in Mongolia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Humphrey, Caroline and David Sneath

1999 The End of Nomadism? Society, State and the Environment in Inner Asia. Duke University Press, Durham.

Ingold, Timothy

1980 Hunters, Pastoralists and Ranchers: Reindeer Economies and Their Transformations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Rogers, J. Daniel

2012 Inner Asian States and Empires: Theories and Synthesis. Journal of Archaeological Research, 20(3):205-256.

Sneath, David

1993 Social Relations, Networks, and Social Organization in Post-Socialist Rural Mongolia. Nomadic Peoples 33:193-207.

2003 Land Use, the Environment and Development in Post-Socialist Mongolia. Oxford Development Studies 31(4):441-459.

Surovell, Todd, Matthew O’Brien and Dashtseveg Tumen

2014 The Dukha Ethnoarchaeological Project. Retrieved from


Green, Lesley Fordred, David R. Green, and Eduardo Góes Neves

2003 “Indigenous Knowledge and Archaeological Science: The Challenges of Public Archaeology in the Reserva Uaçá.” Journal of Social Archaeology 3(3): 366–98.

Marshall, Yvonne

2002 “What Is Community Archaeology?” World Archaeology 34(2):211–19.

McDavid, Carol

2002 “Archaeologies That Hurt; Descendants That Matter: A Pragmatic Approach to Collaboration in the Public Interpretation of African-American Archaeology.” World Archaeology 34(2):303–14.

Moshenska, Gabriel

2010 “What Is Public Archaeology?” Present Pasts 1:46-48.

Okamura, Katsuyuki, and Akira Matsuda

2011 New Perspectives in Global Public Archaeology. New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Raab, L. Mark, Timothy C. Klinger, Michael B. Schiffer, and Albert C. Goodyear

1980 “Clients, Contracts, and Profits: Conflicts in Public Archaeology.” American Anthropologist 82(3): 539–51.

Richardson, Lorna-Jane

2013 A Digital Public Archaeology?” Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 23(1): 10.

2014 Public Archaeology in a Digital Age. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University College London.

Richardson, Lorna-Jane, and Jaime Almansa-Sánchez

2015 “Do You Even Know What Public Archaeology Is? Trends, Theory, Practice, Ethics.” World Archaeology 47(2):194–211.

Schadla-Hall, Tim

1999 “Editorial: Public Archaeology.” European Journal of Archaeology 2(2):147–58.

Shackel, Paul A.

2004 Places in Mind: Public Archaeology as Applied Anthropology. 1st ed. Routledge, 2004.


NOMAD Science believes that we must not only provide materials for our academic colleagues, but also must work hard to reach out to the general public in an approachable, but informative way. The following links will take you to examples of these produced by the staff and students of NOMAD Science.