Archaeological survey and CORONA satellite imagery in Altay (2003-2004)

Archaeological survey to study the diachronological organization of ritual and funerary monuments

Survey in the Altay MountainsThe BOF research project 2003-2004, a cooperation between Ghent University and Gorno-Altaisk State University and funded by the Special Research Fund (BOF) and the Belgian Science Policy, had as goal to study the diachronological organization of ritual and funerary monuments by means of field survey and inventory. The project "Archaeological Survey and CORONA Satellite Imagery in the Altay Mountains (South Siberia). A Multidisciplinary Contribution to the Study of Occupational Patterns of Nomadic Populations (1000 BCE‐present)" formed the basis of the doctoral research of Wouter Gheyle, which was finished in 2009. Over the last decades a lot of international teams have been working in Altai, but their work was often confined to the excavation of promising burial mounds. Monuments were rarely placed and studied in their cultural and geographical context.

During the two field campaigns in 2003 and 2004, over 3000 archaeological monuments were mapped and described. Detailed topographical maps and height models were made by means of remote sensing and GPS measurements. In the second expedition, work concentrated on the Yustyd valley, in the east of the Chuya Steppe. The valley has an extraordinary amount of archaeological surface structures, making it unique in the region. Over 2300 monuments were located in a limited area of 8x3 kms. To cover the total area of the Yustyd valley, the survey work had to be continued in 2006 and in 2010.


Dr. Wouter Gheyle

Prof. dr. Jean Bourgeois