In archaeology, the Mongolian Altai remains a poorly studied region of Asia. Since 2007, systematic studies have been conducted there by a joint expedition of three universities from Mongolia and Russia. This work has provided important information for the reconstruction of the history of ancient nomadic peoples. Of particular importance is the comprehensive documentation of deer stones dated to the Arjan-Mayemir period (the first few centuries of the first millenium b.c.). These stones are carved with images that allow archaeologists to date and reconstruct traits of the corresponding material culture. On the basis of results of exploration and documentation of deer stones in Buyant Valley (near the town of Khovd) and other places in the Mongolian Altai, the author proposes a new perspective on the peculiarities of the objects presented on these stelae and their relationship with funerary and commemorative structures. Comparing the objects the images portray to equivalent archaeological findings reveals their social significance. This approach and method to studying deer stones provides important insights into the ancient material culture as well as future prospects for research on Iron Age nomadic societies in Mongolia. Keywords: Mongolian Altai, Arjan-Mayemir period, deer stones, khirigsuur mounds, rock carvings, rubbing method.


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pp. 453-477
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