Thousands of Early Iron Age burial mounds in Altay are located in the peripheral permafrost zone, causing an exceptional archaeological preservation. The project “Preservation of the Frozen Tombs of the Altai Mountains” was an initiative funded by the Flemish/UNESCO Cultural Trust fund (2005-2006). Main goals of the project were a thorough inventory of the archaeological heritage in different parts of the Altay Mountains, focusing on the Early Iron Age burial mounds that are located in permafrost zones.
The inventory is a useful tool in order to protect and preserve the tombs, that recently are affected by climate change. Suggestions were made for the in situ preservation of some of the endangered tombs, and the project also served as the possible input for a nomination for the World Heritage List.
To close the project, an international conference was organized in Ghent, bringing together a wide range of specialists. An exhibition on the Frozen Tombs travelled from Ghent over Paris and Trondheim (Norway) to Gorno-Altaisk.