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Salvaging Mongolia’s Stolen History: Looting, Conservation, and 800 Year Old Butter | Dr. Julia Clark

October 1, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


During the 2019 summer field season, a team of international researchers led by archaeologists Dr. Julia Clark and Dr. J. Bayarsaikhan worked tirelessly in challenging conditions to salvage what they could from a looted cemetery in northern Mongolia. A series of ridges containing over 70 Mongol era (roughly 600-800 years ago) burials had been targeted by looters in recent years, and the archaeologists worked hard to save what they could from the destruction these criminals left behind. While the most impressive finds are likely long gone into the expansive illegal Asian art market, the team found some amazing finds, including golden objects, intricate delicate silks, and perhaps most interestingly, some ceramic vessels filled with several hundred year old butter and urum (clotted cream). This new assemblage is composed of an incredible array of never before seen artifacts that preserved in the permafrost, and represents a rare glimpse into ancient Mongolian life unrivalled by previous discoveries. During this presentation, Dr. Clark will discuss the significance of these finds, while also discussing the steps being taken to mitigate the impacts of cultural heritage threats in Mongolia.

About the Presenter:

Dr. Julia Clark is the founder and director of NOMAD Science where she organizes field based education experiences in northern Mongolia. Dr. Clark is an anthropological archaeologist and cultural heritage expert specializing in the investigation of human-environment and human-animal relationships, risk management strategies in marginal environments, and socio-political organization. She also holds positions at the American Center for Mongolian Studies and Flinders University related to this work. Julia’s main area of research is Mongolia and the Eurasian Steppe where she has been working for over 10 years.

About ACMS:

The American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting scholarship in Mongolian Studies.
The ACMS Speaker Series are organized in partnership with the U.S. Embassy and the Natsagdorj Library and provides an important platform for researchers engaged in Mongolia to share their experiences and findings with the public. The event promotes information exchange on a variety of subjects related to Mongolia and is free and open to the public.



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October 1, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
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