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Grant number like: RZ-51171-10

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Page size:
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East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN 37614-1710)
Richard D. Kortum (Project Director: November 2009 to January 2014)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$210,000 (approved)
$210,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2010 – 6/30/2013

Rock Art and Archaeology: Investigating Ritual Landscape in the Mongolian Altai

Excavation and documentation of the Biluut petroglyph complex, a recently discovered Iron and Bronze Age rock art site in the Altai mountains of western Mongolia. (36 months)

The Biluut petroglyph complex is one of the most important rock art and archaeological localities in Inner Asia. Situated at sweet-water Khoton Lake on the Altai Mountain flanks bordering China, Kazakhstan, and Russia, Biluut has been an historic crossroads rich in game, domesticated animals, art, and history since glacial retreat released its glistening, polished rock surfaces 10,000 years ago. Biluut rock art is associated with a dense concentration of archaeological sites that offer opportunities to integrate art and history in ways rarely accomplished elsewhere. Radiocarbon dating and RTI imaging will be combined with advanced GIS mapping and excavations. Special focus will be given to Bronze and Iron Age periods where linkages between deer stones, khirigsuur and Pazyryk burials, and petroglyphs can be established. Among expected outcomes are new theories about the foundation of Scythian art and Mongolia's little-known role in pre-Genghis Asian history.