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Modeling Archaeological Site Location in Northern Mongolia: The Northern Railways Archaeological Project

Author(s): Richard Ciolek-Torello ; Michael Heilen ; Jeffrey Homburg ; Amraturvshin Chunag ; Gunchinsuren Byambaa

Year: 2016

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Around the world, predictive models are increasingly important to heritage management by estimating where sites are likely to be located, particularly in un-surveyed areas. Northern Mongolia is well known for its archaeological resources, particularly Bronze Age and Early Iron Age sites, but vast areas remain to be surveyed. This poster presents a project conducted by the Mongolian International Heritage Team and Statistical Research to provide recommendations on the routing of a proposed Northern Rail Link between Murun and Erdenet, in Northern Mongolia. The project involved several steps. First, a preliminary model of archaeological site location was created by regional experts using prior knowledge of the regional archaeological record and logical expectations regarding site location. The model was operationalized in a geographic information system and subsequently used to design sample survey within an area surrounding several proposed railway corridor alternatives. Survey results were then used to refine the model using advanced statistical methods, estimate the potential for impacts and heritage investigation costs along segments of the proposed railway, and recommend further work. The project proved to be a responsible and cost-effective approach to considering and protecting heritage resources of national and global significance in a remote and understudied region.

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Modeling Archaeological Site Location in Northern Mongolia: The Northern Railways Archaeological Project. Richard Ciolek-Torello, Michael Heilen, Jeffrey Homburg, Amraturvshin Chunag, Gunchinsuren Byambaa. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405156)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America