Ducks swimming in V formation on shallow river. Travelled across country on tracks to see Deer Stones at Uushigiin Uver – took it easy so no problems with welded spring. The site has 14 upright carved deer stones, (burial markers from the Bronze Age), the most unique topped with head of woman, plus sacrificial altars, up to 4000 years old, and there are over a thousand burial tombs in nearby hills.
By chance we met Irena, a Russian archaeologist specialising in burial art, it’s her 3rd season here excavating. The site was originally unearthed by Japanese expedition, who stained a couple of stones with brown ochre to show up engravings. Irena’s group has recently unearthed stones 16 and 17. Many are broken into several pieces. Stones stand in a south-north line, and are pink or grey granites, brought down from nearby mountains. Engravings are stylised deer/ birds to help person buried travel to afterlife, with the tools they may need along way including belt, axe, shield, whet-stone. Man Stones are similar apparently, but with faces and parts mostly of men. Stone 14 at this site has woman's face which is unique in any site to date.
Drove back to town and farewelled our friends who are heading west towards border, we will try to catch them before Guy turns towards Kazakhstan. Drove around to garages and found one who bashed the mudflap metal bracket back into position ready for its repair tomorrow. Then – awful news from Miles - he had done a front hanger spring only 40kms west of Murun. These Mongolian roads are deadly! They took five hours to repair his Izuzu and get back on the road, luckily he had not cannibalised his spare springs for our repair, so had everything he needed, both men so knowledgeable about the process now.
Drove south of town to see whether there were more attractive campsites where the river broadened out, saw large flock of circling swallows ducking into holes dotting riverbank. Too many local campers though and too much rubbish to stay (also no cell network and need to know of arrival of springs) so went back to our familiar riverside camp. BoyRob created spaghetti and meatballs from frozen meat patties and spicy tomato soup – very tasty! A couple of male revellers came by in a ute on dusk and yelled out "hey, hey" to us a few times, but we took the safe option and stayed inside reading, until the evening shower projected a magnificent rainbow over the town.