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Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. Questions? Email the appropriate Program Advisor listed below.
WU Archaeology and History of Central Asia Summer Program (Kazakhstan)
Dzhungar Mountains, Kazakhstan (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Homepage: Click to visit
Dates / Deadlines:
App Deadline
WU Decision Date
Start Date
End Date
Summer 2017 02/15/2017
Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Early application is strongly recommended for all programs. Deadlines that fall on a weekend or holiday are automatically extended to the next workday.

Deadline has passed
Fact Sheet:
Program Adviser:
Julie Laveglia
Program Description:

WU's Archaeology and History of Central Asia
Dzhungar Mountains, Kazakhstan
  This program offers undergraduate students a rare opportunity to travel to Kazakhstan, the largest of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Today, Kazakhstan is home to a modern and thriving “Post-Soviet” economy, and is among the most ethnically, cultural, and linguistically diverse nations of Central Asia. The summer program in Inner Asia offers students the chance to experience first-hand the dynamic changes that are occurring in the post-Soviet context, and to witness the emergence of new national identities cut from the multi-ethnic fabric that Archaeology and History of Inner Asia has defined the region for thousands of years.

Unique to the Inner Asia program, students will also participate in archaeological excavations located directly along the fabled Silk Road, where they will investigate the cultural remains of more than 4000 years of regional interaction and local adaptation on the part of the nomadic societies who occupied the mountains and grasslands of the region. Current archaeological research in Kazakhstan is providing new evidence for Eurasia’s earliest nomadic communities as well key discoveries that document the oldest known evidence for the trade between SW Asia and China. The program provides opportunities for intensive language immersion (Russian), and a curriculum focusing on the culture and lifeways of local nomadic pastoralists, as well as their role in shaping widescale regional networks that crossed Eurasia since 2000 BC. The students’ experience is set against a stunning environmental backdrop of high Inner Asian mountains and grasslands, and amidst socio-political changes, economic developments, and new globalism that is shaping Central Asia in the 21st century.

Washington University on-site faculty will participate in instruction and oversight of the program.
Eligibility: 3.0 GPA Minimum. Sophomore, junior, senior standing. Previous study of Russian language or prior coursework in Russian/Eurasian Studies is encouraged

Program Dates: 
Term Program Dates Application Deadline
Summer 2016 June 15 - July 14, 2016 Feb 15
* All applications must be completed online by the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered
  Approved Departments: All students are welcome, though background in the following is encouraged:

Anthropology & Archaeology
Art History
International & Area Studies

Coursework: Students participate in a 1-credit course in second half of the spring semester; eight weekly meetings provide participants with an intellectual context for the overseas program. In Kazakhstan, students earn an additional five credits.
 Course: L48-3774 (SSC)
  Dzhungar Mountains, Kazakhstan
The former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan defines the center of Eurasia, spanning from its western borders with Russia to its eastern border with China and Mongolia. Well known in antiquity as an integral part of the Silk Road, the region’s archaeology now shows that the backbone of the world’s most extensive overland trade network formed among prehistoric nomadic societies, such as those living in the Dzhungar Mts. of eastern Kazakhstan. Thus, the archaeological summer course will be located in an upland elevation range of the Dzhungar Mts, which sit between the western lowland deserts and the glacial peaks over 4000m above sea level. In the foothill zones (c. 1000 and 2500m) lie rich, green pastures that have been used by nomads for millennia. Archaeologists from WashU have recently discovered both prehistoric and historic settlements that date to the period of exchange and social interaction that shaped interregional communication and migration. We coined the study area “Dali” due to the beautiful, surrealistically shaped granite stones that define the area. It is in this archaeological complex that a systematic approach to recovering and studying the formation of cultural identities and the formation of long-distance exchange networks will take place.

  Housing: Students will primarily live in an archaeological camp, with tents and a few central structures. In the cities, students will be housed in hotels.

Student Life: Archaeological field studies are based around the combination of multi-disciplinary methods for data recovery, processing, and analysis. These include the use of historical mapping and archival studies, geo-morphological modeling and analysis, topographic landsurvey and excavation, material analysis and phylogeny (paleobotany, zooarchaeology, artifact study), and spatial analysis and GIS mapping. These methods and approaches are the building blocks of an integrated view of cultural landscapes, and shed light on both cultural and environmental processes that overlap variously through time and illustrate changes in societies. The program in Inner Asia offers training in ALL these modern and digital field strategies provided through teams of specialists.

Program participants will rotate through various methodological and conceptual “modules” to gain a holistic approach to studying cultural landscapes through time. Thus, the summer course in archaeological field studies will combine archaeological methods with a broader conceptualization of multidisciplinary data and how to use it toward richer historical and ethnographic scholarship.

Throughout the summer, a variety of excursions and activities will complement coursework and provide an opportunity for deeper insight into nomadic culture of Kazakhstan, as well as its modern urban population. We will balance the rich archaeological field program with highland hiking trips to visit local nomadic herders, as well as cultural events in Kazakhstan’s largest and most modern city, Almaty. Almaty has a thriving Russian opera and ballet, as well as numerous Kazakh musical and poetic events, where students can appreciate the complex interplay between the Soviet cultural “blueprint” and the uniquely Kazakh ways of transforming their modern nationalist identity. In no small way, the prehistory and history of nomadism is an influential aspect of the culture of the region, and is currently a major point of academic and national attention. Further excursions may include trips to see UNESCO protected site of Tamgaly, a vast open air “sanctuary” with over 10,000 rock-art engravings that span nearly 4000 years of regional history. Students will have the opportunity to be at the cutting edge – figuratively and literally – of new discovery and understanding of one of the world’s most mysterious regions and populations.


  Summer 2016 Program Price: $5,500 program fee + $52.75 approx. insurance - includes five units of Washington University academic credit, housing, meals and ground transportation during the program and mandatory International Health Insurance coverage during the program. 
Students are responsible for own airfare.

Email the appropriate Overseas Programs Coordinator, visit us during our walk-in hours, join us for an information session, or call (314) 935-5958 to schedule an appointment.

International and Area Studies | Overseas Programs