Fieldwork for this project involved initial mobile surveys of large areas in Bayan Ölgiy followed by extensive and intensive pedestrian surveys and documentation. In some areas, the resulting record includes every significant monument, discreet monument group, or concentration of petroglyphic images. This is true of a number of petroglyphs sites and of many concentrations of unusually fine or representative monuments such as those of Mogoityn Gol , Tsagaan Asgat, Khara Zharyk , Chigirtein Gol , Khara Salagiin Gol , and Maikhan Tolgoi . In other cases, the database includes a large number of monuments represented by a central point location; this is the case, for example, within several petroglyphic sites or along the right bank of Khovd Gol above Sagsay. It should be noted that many of the regions on the interactive map that display no site identifications were also surveyed, but we found no significant monuments there to be documented.
On-site investigation involved a number of stages: the determination through map study, our own observations, and herders’ recommendations of areas that needed to be surveyed; subsequent survey and identification of monument types; determination of size and other data related to the construction of the monuments and their particular style; determination of location (latitude, longitude, elevation) with Global Positioning Systems (GPS); assessment of the monument’s orientation in relationship to the larger archaeological and physical contexts; and photographic documentation.
The field-collected GPS points with on-site observations were entered into an ESRI ArcSDE Geodatabase with several other mapping layers. ESRI ArcGIS spatial analysis and query tools were used to visualize and analyze patterns and relationships of features in their landscape setting. The Geodatabase serves as the foundation for the information displayed in the website’s interactive maps.