The Bogd Khan Palace
The Bogd Khan Palace

Archaeological Tours

NEW FOR 2020

Mongolia: Archaeological Treasures of the Eastern Steppes

An exploration of Mongolia’s ancient history and unforgettable landscapes, this expedition passes through vast grasslands and forested mountains to the sites of archaeological treasures. Travelers will explore ancient burial sites, stone men, the ruins of legendary cities, and finely rendered deer stones erected thousands of years ago by Turkic-Mongol tribes. Our tour explores the wartime fortresses and capitals of Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire alongside beautifully set Buddhist monasteries of the past and present. We also explore the region’s lesser-known history, including the 8th century citadel of Kharbalgas in the fertile Orkhon Valley, a center of political activity centuries before the birth of Genghis Khan.

Explore the national parks and wild horse reserves of rural Mongolia, still home to many nomadic tribes. Marvel at the Flaming Cliffs of the Gobi desert. Enjoy a luxury take on nomadic ger camps and even — in true Mongolian style — have the opportunity for an optional camel excursion. This tour is recommended for archaeology buffs who are comfortable camping in tents and driving overland through the country’s vast landscapes to visit some of Asia’s most significant and awe-inspiring sites.

What's included?

  •  Expert scholar & tour manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  A/C coach
  •  Flights (excluding airfare from the US)
  •  Entries & tips
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Four lectures from your expert scholar
  •  A study guide, reading list, and other useful tour documentation compiled by your expert scholar and your Archaeological Tours team
  •  A name badge, luggage strap and bag tag

Led by...

Dr Jean-Luc Houle

Dr Jean-Luc Houle

Jean-Luc is an Associate Professor in Anthropology at Western Kentucky University, and director of the WKU Anthropology Lab.

Full Price
$9,995

Today's Price
$9,595

Saving
$400

Deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $1,400

Tour highlights:

  • Visit the National Museum of Mongolia and discover the artifacts of the country’s history, from the Neolithic to the present day
  • Explore the ancient capital of the Mongol and the Northern Yuan at Karakorum
  • Discover an array of megalithic Mongolian deer stones
  • Travel to key sites that have produced dinosaur eggs and fossils from the Upper Cretaceous period, such as the Flaming Cliffs
  • Extend your experience and stay for the famous Naadam Festival, where archery, horse racing and wrestling take center stage

Tour details

Dates June 25 2020 - July 11 2020
Duration 17 days
Cost
Full Price
$9,995
Today's Price
$9,595
Saving
$400
Deposit: $1,250 Single supplement: $1,400 Balance due by April 2 2020
Activity Level
Tour code A20MON

Book Now or call 866-740-5130 if you have any questions

June 25 2020: Itinerary

The contrast between ancient traditions and a 21st century democracy is most visible in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers (wooden latticed structures covered with layers of felt and canvas) and Buddhist monasteries sit alongside modern high-rises. Upon arrival, we are welcomed by our guide and then we transfer to our hotel, which is within walking distance of museums and shops.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar

We enjoy a welcome lecture and a visit to the stunning buildings of the Choijin Lama Temple Complex. This afternoon we take a walk around Ulaanbaatar, pausing in the grand Sükhbaatar (or Chinggis) Square. Later, we visit the National History Museum to explore its displays of implements from daily nomadic life, including Stone and Bronze Age artifacts, historical costumes of Mongolia’s minority tribes, religious relics, and equipment used for fishing and hunting.

All meals included

Hotel: Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar

Today we explore the Winter Palace Complex, where Mongolia’s last king and eighth living Buddha resided, before discovering the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts. After lunch, we continue to the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex. On our return to Ulaanbaatar, we visit the Tonyukuk monument, considered to be one of the most valued archaeological sites of the early Mongolian Turkic nation. It is inscribed with a brief history of the Turkic state and the statue is considered one of the most significant examples of runic inscription.

All meals included

Hotel: Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar

We fly to Murun and visit its museum, which is home to a fantastic ethnographic collection of the traditional dress of Mongolian ethnic groups. After lunch, we see the Hyadagin deer stones, some of which are an extraordinary nine-feet tall. Next, we continue on to Lake Hovsgol. This crystal-clear alpine lake, known as Mongolia’s “dark blue pearl,” is situated among pristine forests, mountains, and meadows. We end today’s sightseeing at Achmag deer stones and tonight we enjoy our first night in a traditional ger camp.

All meals included

We complete our study of the region’s deer stones at Uushigiin. Of the many deer stones in the Hovsgol Province, those here are a real highlight. Comprised of 14 remarkably preserved deer stones, lined up from north to south, this site is often referred to as the “graveyard of deer stones.” The front stone is carved with a human face at the top and is the only one of its kind. We spend time exploring the monuments, before embarking on a long drive to Jargalant, passing through pastoralist encampments. On arrival, we can indulge in a traditional hot spring bath.

All meals included

Today we explore the region of Jargalant. View the ruins of the Ariin Huree Monastery, which include remnants of a staircase that leads to a hilltop. We then travel to our next Ger Camp on the shores of Terkhin Tsagaan Lake.

All meals included

An early morning awaits as we prepare for another day of discovery. Arhangai Province is home to hundreds of ancient square burial mounds, deer stones, monuments, and petroglyphs. We visit the 19th century monument of the “Maidar” Buddha, located on the bank of the South Tamir River, before stopping at the picturesque Zayayn Gegeenii Temple to observe a ‘wolf stone’ located in front of its main temple. After crossing over Tsagaan Burgasnii Davaa Pass, we encounter decorated deer stones at Shivertin and Tsatssiin.

All meals included

We visit Karakorum, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, established by Genghis Kahn. We explore Erdene Zuu’s expansive complex, thought to be the oldest surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. Just behind the monastery compound, we visit the site of archaeological work being conducted by German archaeologists at the former sight of Karakorum. Here, the foundation of a house with a brick stove was found and among the most significant artifacts was a beautifully forged gold bracelet.

All meals included

We begin the day with a visit to Tovkhon Khiid Monastery, one of Mongolia’s oldest Buddhist monasteries, founded by Zanabazar – the Khalka’s spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism in outer Mongolia.

All meals included

This morning is spent exploring the ruins of the ancient citadel of Har Balgas. Meaning ‘Black Ruins,’ Har Balgas was the site of the 9th century Uigur capital. Genghis Khan greatly admired the Uigurs and adopted their script as the official script of the Mongols, which is still used in the country today. Next, we drive northwest to the village of Hoton Village – the site of this journey’s first deer stone. Although half of the stone is missing, locals brought the remaining part to their village for display and preservation. After lunch, we visit the Kultegin Monument en route to Ugii Lake, erected during the Turkic Empire in the 8th century.

All meals included

We begin the day exploring the expansive ruins of the Uighar Har Buh Fortress, dating back to the time of Uighar’s domination in central Asia, before exploring the Ulaan Herem archaeological site. Our afternoon is spent in Hustai National Park, a reserve built to protect wildlife such as Przwalski horses, red deer, and marmot.

All meals included

We visit the Ongot graves, the stones of which are ornately carved with intricate man-like features. This afternoon, we return to Ulaanbaatar and explore the Hunnu Mall’s dinosaur exhibit, also stopping at the Zaisan Soviet era memorial for its city views.

All meals included

We begin with a visit to Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia. Although Buddhist monasteries were either destroyed or converted into museums during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, Gandan Monastery continued to operate as a showpiece for government officials. However, in spite of the government’s efforts to suppress Buddhism and other religious beliefs, Mongolia’s spirituality persisted, and a significant resurgence of Buddhism began in 1990 when Mongolia became a democracy. Monasteries across the country are again opening their doors to worshipers, and the few lamas who survived the purges began training a new generation. Experience these exciting developments first-hand at Gandan Monastery. Strolling through the monastery grounds, hear the low tones of the horns used to call the lamas to the temple and observe their daily rituals, including the reading of sutras – the teachings of the Buddha. Our afternoon is at leisure.

All meals included

This morning we fly to Dalanzadgad and then drive to our ger camp. After free time to rest, we make our way to the Moltsog sand dune, where we meet with local nomads for an introduction to life in the Gobi. Here, we can also ride a camel, and then we drive on to Flaming Cliffs, an area that has yielded many dinosaur fossils.

All meals included

Our first visit of the day is to the Khavsgait petroglyphs and then, after lunch, we move on to the breathtaking Yolyn Am gorge. We visit the entrance museum and we can walk up to the gorge for spectacular sights over rocky cliffs and dramatic canyons.

All meals included

We return to Ulaanbaatar this morning and can look forward to an afternoon at leisure. This is a great chance to explore the bustling metropolis before we come together for our farewell dinner.

All meals included

We transfer to the airport for our independent flights back home.

Meals include: Breakfast

June 25 2020: Additional Info

June 25 2020: Enquiries

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