the latest research on Mongolia?
presents a new research initiative by a multi-disciplinary team
at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. Led by William Fitzhugh,
chair of the Museum's Department
of Anthropology and director of its Arctic Studies Center, the team
is in Mongolia as part of a long-term research program in the country
- open to western scientists for the first time in nearly a century.
Fitzhugh is studying the ancient origins and role of the reindeer-herding
people, and participating in excavation of burial mounds and a 4,000
- 5,000-year-old Neolithic house. Daniel Rogers, curator of archaeology
in the Department of Anthropology, is focusing on urban centers
and empires, including the ancient capitol at Kharkhorin and the
imperial palace of Monkh Khan, Genghis Khan's grandson. Rogers is
also researching the history of Mongolia as told from a Chinese
point of view. Paula DePriest, curator for the botany section in
the Department of Systematic Biology, is studying the gradual disappearance
of plants and lichens which comprise the reindeer's main dietary
of Mongolia to the scientific community is a rare opportunity to
gain new knowledge about important issues of human migration and
circumpolar connections," said Fitzhugh. "'Modern Mongolia'
enables us to bring these exciting findings to the rest of the world."
The Arctic Studies
Center is part of the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian's
National Museum of Natural History. Established in 1988, the center
is the only United States government program with a special focus
on northern cultural research and education. In keeping with this
mandate, the Arctic Studies Center specifically studies northern
peoples, exploring history, archaeology, social change and human
lifeways across the circumpolar world. The center's Web site is