Prehistoric Mongolian Archaeology in the Early 21st Century: Developments in the Steppe and Beyond

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There has been a great increase in archaeological research in Mongolia since 2000. Increasingly precise chronologies, regional studies, and the growth of developmentdriven archaeology are transforming our knowledge of this key region of northeastern Asia. This review summarizes recent work and provides a narrative of the prehistoric and medieval cultural sequences as presently understood. I focus on long-standing key topics: early human habitation, the adoption of food-producing economies, Bronze Age social transformations, and the emergence of central places and large polities. I argue that, on the one hand, Mongolia has unique data and new examples to ofer the archaeological community and, on the other, that the prehistory of Mongolia and the steppe are not so diferent from the rest of the world in its history of research and key questions. This review provides general overviews covering the Upper Paleolithic, Epipaleolithic or Neolithic, and Bronze Age to the Xiongnu period; specifc data related to each period provide jumping-of points for comparative analysis and further examination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431–479
Number of pages49
JournalJournal of Archaeological Research
Early online date7 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021


  • Mongolia
  • hunter-gatherers
  • nomadic pastoralism
  • Monumentality
  • State origins


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