Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wrocław archaeologists will conduct research in the Gobi Desert

Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław will conduct excavations in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. The expedition is a part of the research project whose aim is to compare the adaptation of prehistoric societies to life in the desert.

Prof. Józef Szykulski from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław emphasised in an interview with PAP that work on the preparation for the research project is already well underway. "It has to be a global undertaking. In addition to the Gobi Desert, where our institution will begin research for the first time, we will also work on materials obtained from the southern Sahara (Sudan) and the Atacama and Nazca Desert in Peru" - said Prof. Szykulski.

Wroclaw archaeologists have been conducting research in Peru and Sudan for many years. In the case of Sudan, the main organizer of the research is the Archaeological Museum in Gdańsk.

The aim of the interdisciplinary research project (planned for four years) is a comparison of the adaptation of prehistoric societies to life in the desert. "It's even more interesting that all these deserts have different climatic conditions. We want to determine how in the prehistoric period, the time of hunter-gatherers and the first agricultural communities, these communities adapted to the desert conditions" - said the scientist.

The research work of archaeologists from Wrocław in the area of the Gobi desert will be conducted under an agreement with the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the University of Ulan Bator. The excavations, which will begin in May or June 2015, are planned in the so-called Silicon Valley.

Prof. Szykulski emphasized that it is one of the richest archaeological sites in the Gobi Desert. "We examined the materials previously found in this region and they were extremely promising. They date back to the Lower Paleolithic, and therefore probably to earlier human forms" - he said.

"When it comes to archaeological research, Mongolia is still virgin land. Access to positions proposed by the Mongolian Academy of Sciences is very prestigious. It's like a foreign obtaining permission to excavate in the Kraków main square" - said the scientist.

The project, in which Wroclaw researchers are involved, will be international. Italian and Czech archaeologists are also interested in participating. Prof. Szykulski emphasized that it will require considerable funds. "That is why we want to apply for a grant from the European Union" - he added.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland

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