Mongolian Archaeological Heritage

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    Over two millennia ago, a powerful confederacy of nomadic tribes known as the Xiongnu Empire (Hunnu in Mongolian) thrived in what is now Mongolia. For many Mongolians, this is when the nation began. Xiongnu were the dominant power in Central Asia, forcing its southern neighbor, the Han dynasty to maintain a “peace and kinship treaty.”  Dr. Erdenebaatar of Ulaanbaatar State University and his dedicated archaeological team  have been excavating largest known tomb of Xiongnu aristocrats to date. The site,  known as Gol Mod-2, is located in the picturesque Arhangai Province. Excavations have yielded never before seen crafts of the Xiongnu Empire, including gold, silver, and jade ornaments as well as parts of horse chariots, tools, and human and animal remains. In June of 2015, this team is planning to open yet another tomb at the site. On this “Empires of the Steppe” tour, we will be given exclusive access to visit the excavation site and to spend a few days with the scientists and students. We will have the opportunity not only  observe the excavation work, we will be able to help in unearthing an ancient treasure never seen before by the modern world.

    About Dr. Erdenebaatar Diimaajav


    Dr. Erdenebaatar Diimaajav is a Professor of History, Dean of  Faculty of Humanities and Head of the Department of Archaeology of Ulaanbaatar State University. His chief research area is the archaeological study of Bronze Age and the Xiounnu Period in Mongolia. He is the author of several Mongolian books and has co-authored many publications including The History of Mongolia Volumes (2003) and The Treasures of Xiounnu (2009).  In 2000, he led the discovery of the largest tomb of Xiounnu aristocrats known to date and has been conducting excavation expeditions ever since. During the excavations, he had unearthed a cup from the Roman Empire and several other artifacts which had never been found in Asia before. Dr. Erdenebaatar has traveled throughout Mongolia and is an outstanding expert on early Mongolian history, monuments and burial sites.

    Brief Daily Itinerary

    Day 1. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

    The groups meets this afternoon and depart the hotel for a short excursion of the city.

    Day 2. Amarbayasgalant Monastery

    Begin the journey by diriving north to the Amarbayasgalant Monastery, one of Mongolia’s largest Buddhist landmarks located in the region close to the Russian border.

    Day 3. Uran Togoo

    In the morning, drive west to Uran Togoo, a beautiful dormant volcano site popular with nomadic camps. Hike in the mountain and overnight in tents.

    Day 4. Hanui Valley

    In the morning, drive to Hanui Valley where Gol Mod 2 is located. We will arrive at the field camp site in the afternoon and meet Dr. Erdenebaatar and his team and join dinner with Mongolian archeologists.

    Day 5-9. Excavation at Gol Mod

    We will spend these days as the Mongolian team attempts to uncover remnants of a new aristocratic cemetery as part of the greater excavation project of this largest Xiongnu cemetery complex found to date in Central Asia. Each day, we will also hike in the surrounding mountains, possibly surveying for new evidences and burial sites and each evening, we will be joined by Dr. Erdenebaatar as hi introduces about the day’s finding.

    Day 10. Kultegin Monument / Ogii Lake

    In the morning, we will bid a farewell to the field staff and begin driving south to our next destination. Drive to Ogii Lake and on to the Kutegin Monument complex, a 7th century Turkik monuments preserved in a protected shelter near the lake. Overnight in gers at the Lake.

    Day 11. Kharakhorum

    In the morning, drive to a short distance to Kharakhorum, the site of 13th century Chinggis capital of Mongolia. Here, we will visit the magnificent Erdenezuu monastery, built on the ruins of the ancient city.

    Day 12. Uyghar City ruins / Tsogt Prince Castle site

    Today, we will begin our return journey back to Ulaanbaatar. En route, we will first stop at a 10th century Uigar city ruins called Har Balgas. Further east, stop at the 17th century castle ruins belonged to a local prince Tsogt. Continue driving until we arrive in Ulaanbaatar.

    Day 13. Ulaanbaatar

    Enjoy a full day of exploring the sights and sounds of Ulaanbaatar. Enjoy a cultural performance in the evening followed by a dinner at a fine local restaurant.

    Day 14. Departure

    Farewell and transfer to the airport for departure.

    Trip Highlights:

    • Travel back in time in Mongolia, visiting ruins of ancient cities, monasteries, burals sties, statues and symbols, guided by a top Mongolian archeologist

    • Enjoy an exclusive access to the excavation of the largest known Xiongnu artistocrat tomd, found to date

    • Be one of the first to witness artcrafts and and tools being seen by humans for the first time in over 2000 years.
    • Enjoy meeting and interacting with local nomads, with a chance to hike, horseback ride and fish in Central Mongolian pristine rivers and lakes.

    Trip Logistics:

    • Minimum number of participants required for the trip: 4 people
    • There will be some extensive overland driving involved
    • Majority of nights in the field trip will be spent in expedition style tent camps with basic but efficient field amenities such as shower and field toilets
    • Each day, we will go surveying for archeological evidenves under the guidance of Mongolian field expert
    • Essential field equipment for optional excavation  works will be provided


    Trip Date:

    August 10 – 23, 2023

    2 travelers:

    $4,250 per person, twin occupancy;

    3-5 travelers:

    $3,890 per person, twin occupancy;

    6-9 travelers:

    $3,650 per person, twin occupancy;

    10 and more travelers:

    $3,490 per person, twin occupancy;

    Optional single supplement:

    $550 per person.



    Hotel Ulaanbaatar

    Hotel Ulaanbaatar is conveniently located in downtown Ulaanbaatar and is a very well established hotel with a friendly staff. All major atractions of UB are located with a walking distance of the hotel.

    Mongolian ger summer

    Expedition Base Camp

    Once we arrive at the tomb excavation site, you will stayi in rustic but confortable Mongolian gers. Our private chef will cook field meals every day and camp setting will be an expedition style, with a field toilet and shower provided.


    Ger camps

    We will also be staying at tourist class, cozy and authentic ger camps with western bathroom and restaurant facilities. Most visitors find staying in gers as one of the highlights of their trip to Mongolia.


    Land Transportation

    Land transportation will be provided by 4×4 Mitsubishi Delica Vans, seated one for every four passengers. Separate supply vehicles will be used to carry our tents and kitchen supplies.