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Search to Find Tomb of Genghis Khan Picks up Pace

Search to Find Tomb of Genghis Khan Picks up Pace

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Before Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, died, he made it clear that he did not want to be found. So far, this wish has remained fulfilled as nearly 800 years after the death of one of the most powerful conquerors in history, the location of his tomb still remains elusive. Many people have tried to locate his final resting places without success, but now it seems, researchers are closer than ever to finding his tomb, as a large-scale crowdfunded project has identified dozens of archaeological sites in the region where he is thought to have been buried.

In 1227, Genghis Khan , the man who united the nomadic tribes of Mongolia and conquered much of Central Asia and China, was dead. The circumstances of his death, however, are still a mystery. According to the Venetian traveller, Marco Polo, for instance, Genghis Khan was wounded in the knee by an arrow whilst besieging a certain castle called Caaju, and subsequently died of the infected wound. The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle also records that he was killed in battle during his final campaign against the Western Xia. On the other hand, the Secret History of the Mongols , written shortly after Genghis Khan’s death, claims that the Great Khan fell off his horse whilst hunting, and died of the injury he sustained. Perhaps the most colourful account can be found in later Mongol chronicles. According to these accounts, Genghis Khan’s death is connected to a Western Xia princess who was taken as war booty. One source suggests that the great conqueror was stabbed to death by the princess with a hidden dagger. This truth of this version, which no doubt portrays Genghis Khan as meeting an inglorious death, is doubted, and some have even suggested that it was invented by the Oirats, a rival of the Mongols.

Portrait of Genghis Khan. ( Wikimedia Commons ).

Like Genghis Khan’s death, his burial site has been an equally perplexing question to modern scholars. The only thing we may be certain about is that Genghis Khan’s body was returned to Mongolia after his death, perhaps to his birthplace at Khentii Aimag. Many assume that Genghis Khan was buried near the Onon River. Apart from that, much of the information regarding Genghis Khan’s tomb is based on legends and folklores. For instance, Marco Polo records that it was customary that the Great Khans be interred in the Altay mountains, and that their bodies were brought there, regardless of where they died. In addition, Marco Polo also mentions that anyone who met with the Khan’s funeral cortege would be killed, as it was believed that they would serve the deceased Khan in the afterlife. Whilst the Secret History of the Mongols does not contain any information about the tomb, there are many tales as to the way the Khan’s tomb was concealed. These include the diversion of a river over the burial site, having many horses stampeding over the grave, and having trees planted over the tomb. It is also rumoured that in 1937, a standard containing clues to the Khan’s tomb was removed by the Soviets from a Buddhist monastery. Furthermore, it is believed that the tomb is protected by a curse.

Marco Polo records that it was customary that the Great Khans be interred in the Altay mountains ( Wikimedia Commons )

The uncertainty of the location of Genghis Khan’s tomb and the alleged curse has certainly not deterred people from looking for it. One such person was the late Maury Kravitz, whose fascination with Genghis Khan led to four expeditions in search for the Mongol leader’s tomb. Needless to say, the tomb was never discovered. In 2000, Chinese archaeologists announced that they have discovered Genghis Khan’s tomb in the northwest of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Although further investigations were needed to verify this claim, it seems that there are no further reports about this find. In 2004, a joint Japanese-Mongolian expedition unearthed the palace of Genghis Khan , raising the possibility that his tomb may also be found. In 2009, another effort to seek the tomb of Genghis Khan was started by Albert Lin. In addition to using non-destructive archaeological methods, this project is also an international crowdsourcing effort, which garnered significant support from the public.

Albert Yu-Min Lin, from the University of California, San Diego, called upon interested people to scan through satellite images and tag potential archaeological sites. Over 10,000 online volunteers contributed 30,000 hours to examine an area of 6,000 km2 in and around the site of Khan’s palace, around around 150 miles east of Mongolia’s capital, Ulan Bator. Published in the journal PLOS One , he described the work as a "large scale survey for anomalies within ultra-high resolution earth-sensing satellite imagery".

Speaking to National Geographic, Lin said : "Using traditional archaeological methods would be disrespectful to believers. The ability to explore in a noninvasive way lets us try to solve this ancient secret without overstepping cultural barriers. It also allows us to empower Mongolian researchers with tools they might not have access to otherwise.

Lin reported that the project resulted in the compilation of a map that prompted the National Geographic to launch an expedition to investigate further. More than 50 archaeological sites were confirmed, ranging from the Bronze Age to the Mongol period. Now more research is needed to investigate the sites to determine with any of them may be the final resting place of the warlord.

It would seem the search has a long way to go yet. Factor in the legend of how his burial was secreted and hope becomes pretty thin.

According to a BBC report , the tracks to the burial ground were hidden in the following manner:

“A grieving army carried his body home, killing anyone it met to hide the route. When the emperor was finally laid to rest, his soldiers rode 1,000 horses over his grave to destroy any remaining trace.”

Furthermore, the soldiers who buried him were all slaughtered by another group of soldiers. And those soldiers were similarly got rid of for good measure. No witnesses and any evidence well and truly stamped into the ground hundreds of years ago.

However, another account has Genghis swearing to return to Burkhan Khaldun in the Khentii Mountains upon his death. This area has had limited access and was once known as the “Great Taboo” and is now the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area. This is currently limiting investigation into possibilities for the burial in this region.

A New Direction

No matter, says, Alan Nichols, the American explorer who has been researching possible burial sites for over 10 years. An authority on sacred mountains, he claims they are looking on the wrong mountain altogether, and a search there is folly.

Referring to Burkhan Khaldun, the Express reports Mr Nichols as saying in 2016, "Albert Lin is up there, Kravitz was there, the Japanese and a whole bunch of smaller searches. They’re all wrong.”

He has close guarded reasons to believe the tomb is on another mountain, ‘more than 1,000 miles away.’ Now 88, Mr Nichols is organizing an exploration of this proposed area. Maybe he is actually on to something.

Meanwhile, plans are also being laid by Universal Studio and Seven Bucks Productions to create an action movie of the story of a hunt for Genghis’ tomb.

Whilst there are those who, for whatever reason, are determined to seek out this elusive tomb, one may ask whether it would be better to leave the Great Khan alone. Perhaps it was an undisturbed rest that he desired when he asked to be buried in an unmarked grave, which was also the custom of his tribe. This eternal rest may be encapsulated in the words of the poet John Clare, ‘Untroubling and untroubled where I lie / The grass below – above the vaulted sky.’

An Ancient Mystery: Where Is the Tomb of Genghis Khan?

Earlier this year, a magnificent find by archaeologists yielded a structure lost to time, a military stronghold used by Genghis Khan and his army as they conquered the known world. The final resting place of the great conqueror, however, remains a mystery despite intense interest from researchers worldwide.

Legend has it that all 2,000 witnesses returning from Genghis Khan’s funeral were killed to keep the resting place of the Mongolian warlord a secret. Whether this story is true or not, we may never know. But, the fact remains that after decades of searching and with millions of dollars invested in the use of all means, including modern satellite imaging technology, his final resting place is still a well-kept secret.

Help Find Genghis Khan's Tomb From the Comfort of Your Home

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Photograph by Erik Jepsen. Albert Lin stands in front of the UCSD HYPERspace wall.

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From time to time, people in charge of large internet-based projects request the help of the general public to assist in their work. Think [email protected] and Galaxy Zoo. Currently, there is another project with which you can help, supported by National Geographic Digital Media. It is called "Field Expedition: Mongolia — Valley of the Khans Project." This project is a huge archaeological survey of parts of Mongolia, looking for the tomb of Genghis Khan and other Mongolian cultural heritage sites. Wired's own Gadget Lab wrote about this project last year.

Satellite imagery made available by GeoEye Foundation. Satellite image of Mongolia showing a possible site of archaeological interest.

Genghis Khan's tomb has never been found because of some fascinating historical factors which you can read about on the project's website. By combining the use of high tech tools and crowdsourcing, their small team of explorers, led by Albert Lin, turns into a team of thousands working together to identify possible tomb locations. This is done by having the general public studying satellite images and identifying the features we see. There's no way the small team would have enough time to search the entire area themselves, so our help is invaluable. It's amazing how helpful we can be without being experts on satellite imagery. It's very easy to spot rivers and roads, and pretty intuitive to spot modern structures, such as yurts, and signs of ancient or buried structures, such as burial mounds or odd land patterns. Then, combining this information with real-time data and maps, the expedition gets a clearer picture of the different areas of Mongolia.

One reason why the explorer team is using satellite imagery techniques is to minimize the amount of digging that is done, which preserves Mongolia's land and protects the cultural history. By studying the land from above, one can see subtle differences in terrain, perhaps areas that have settled in unusual ways. As possible heritage sites are located, people on the ground can investigate further. Explorer Albert Lin and his team will be investigating the tagged items, without digging any holes. Top Mongolian scholars are also participating in the process.

Perhaps this noninvasive way of performing archaeology is the new way of things. The use of technology such as satellite imagery, other tools and the help of the general internet public could be applied to similar projects in the future. Some of the other new technologies used in this project include unmanned aerial vehicles, three dimensional virtual reality and ground penetrating radar.

The Tomb of Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, was one of the most historically-significant humans to ever live. Yet we have no idea where he was buried. His lost resting place – and the possibility it contains the finest loot from a lifetime of conquest – makes a great adventure hook.

The West remembers Genghis Khan as one of the most bloodthirsty conquerers in human history. That’s true. His empire stretched from the Caspian to the Sea of Japan. Under his descendants, it spread farther still. By some calculations, his massacre of Khwarezmid Persia was so extensive that Iran didn’t regain its pre-Mongol population until the 20th century. But he also promoted religious tolerance, secular law, and international trade, and his conquests ushered in centuries of peace in the regions that submitted to him. He’s something of a mixed bag. But no one would deny the extent of his influence.

Genghis Khan died in 1227 while pacifying the rebellious state of Xi Xia. How he died is unclear. Our best source, the 13th-century Secret History of the Mongols simply notes his death and rolls smoothly into the dynastic succession. The first Papal legate to Mongolia reported that Genghis Khan was struck by lightning. Marco Polo reports he died of an infected arrow wound. You see claims as varying as a fall from a horse, typhus, poison, a magic spell, and a Xi Xia queen who hid a knife in her vagina so she could lethally castrate the Khan when he raped her.

Genghis Khan’s soldiers brought his body home to Mongolia, and buried him in an unmarked grave. According to tradition, the burial location was supposed to be secret. One legend recounts that the soldiers in the funeral cortege killed everyone they encountered on their voyage home, rode hundreds of horses across his grave repeatedly to ensure it could never be found, rode elsewhere to be killed by another set of soldiers, who themselves either committed suicide or were killed by a third set of soldiers. It’s a ridiculous story, of course, but it illustrates the Mongol popular perception of how seriously they were supposed to take this secret.

Traditionally, Genghis Khan was supposed to have been buried somewhere on or near the mountain of Burkhan Khaldun, in a region called the Ikh Khorig (‘Great Taboo’). This heavily-wooded, mountainous region was off-limits to all but relatives of the Great Khan and a specific tribe instructed to enforce the prohibition. After the Mongol empire fell, locals still refused to allow anyone to enter the Ikh Khorig. Even the Soviets respected the taboo, albeit for their own reasons: keeping everyone out of the Ikh Khorig prevented it from becoming a rallying point for Mongolian nationalists.

What might the tomb look like? The Xiongnu, a steppe nomad people who lived in what is today Mongolia over a thousand years before Genghis Khan, buried their kings in log-walled chambers 20 meters underground. Their tombs contained treasures and trade goods from as far away as Rome. The Xiongnu placed stone markers above their royal tombs. If the Mongols inherited or imitated the burial practices of their predecessors, but chose to omit the marking stones, Genghis Khan’s tomb might be completely unfindable.

The search for Genghis Khan’s tomb

We laugh, but I am not sure the American explorer isn’t serious: after all, it’s a mystery that’s endured for nearly 800 years.

There have been many attempts to find Genghis’ tomb by grave robbers, adventurers and archaeologists. Most have been centred on Burkhan Khaldun, in the Khentii province of northeastern Mongolia, the great warrior’s birthplace. According to The Secret History of the Mongols (1240), the oldest surviving literary work on the last days of Genghis, he sought refuge here, worshipped here, declared it the most sacred mountain in Mongolia and – most intriguingly – exclaimed, “Bury me here when I pass away.” However, all searches of the area have proved fruitless.

After a decade of research, Nichols, 86, an attorney, published author and expert on Tibet and China, is convinced Genghis’ final resting place is elsewhere. He invited me to join an expedition to show the tomb is hidden where he thinks it is, but his emails were so cryptic that only at the last minute did I know which country to book flights to.

At first, all I was told was that we were going “somewhere in historical Mongolia”, the route and plans changing in the days leading up to our meeting.

His obsession with secrecy is largely due to concerns about what could happen should knowledge of the burial site fall into the wrong hands. Not only would the discovery of the tomb of the founder of the Mongol empire be of huge historical significance, it’s also believed to be full of jewellery, precious metals and relics.

“I’m very careful about not telling people where it is,” he says. “I have agreements with all the technical people – I’m a lawyer, as you know – and I’ve already thought how to make sure that nobody lets it out” before, that is, he’s been able to go through the correct channels and guarantee some measure of protection.

Nichols was the 42nd president of the Explorers Club, a New York-founded international society that promotes scientific exploration, and he holds several world firsts, inclu­ding being the first Westerner to circumambulate Tibet’s most sacred mountain, Mount Kailas, and the first to cycle the entire Silk Road. He’s been studying sacred mountains for 60 years but Nichols’ search for Genghis’ tomb is contentious.

“Mongolians are fairly unanimous in not wanting their founder to be disturbed,” says Mongolia-based American professor and anthropologist Jack Weatherford, author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (2004). “He said, ‘Let my body die, but let my nation live.’ Therefore, people should ignore the body and concentrate on the welfare of the nation. The idea that anyone would search for the tomb is disturbing for most Mongols, and the idea of foreigners searching for it can be quite alarming.”

Genghis was a master of deception. He would mislead enemies into thinking his men were retreating when they were lying in wait and use propaganda to spread fear about the size and ferocity of his army. Although most historians agree he was killed on August 18, 1227, during the fall of Yinchuan, now the capital of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, there is surprisingly little in writing about how the warrior died or his burial.

“Mongols have strict taboos about discussing death so very little is recorded,” says Weatherford. “This created many opportunities for foreigners to write all types of imaginative and speculative scenarios of what happened.”

Some say he was struck by lightning, others that he was killed by a vengeful queen, while still others believe he was killed in battle or falling off his horse.

He is said, however, to have left clear instructions that nobody should disturb his remains. One legend has it that the 1,000 soldiers who carried the khan’s body to its burial site were killed to prevent them from disclosing its location, then those who killed the burial brigade were also dispatched, and thousands of horses were released to trample the ground in which he was buried, to hide any trace of it as having been disturbed. Other stories tell of a forest being planted or a river diverted, to hide the site.

Who was Genghis Khan?

There was excitement when Genghis’ palace was discovered by a Japanese-Mongolian expedition in 2004, as ancient texts refer to officials travelling daily between the palace grounds and the burial site, to conduct rituals, yet the tomb was not found.

One of the most dedicated Genghis hunters, American amateur archaeologist Maury Kravitz, spent 40 years searching for the tomb near Burkhan Khaldun, and reportedly had to pull out of one excavation due to a series of unfortunate events that included team members being bitten by pit vipers and cars rolling off hills for no apparent reason – reinforcing beliefs that the tomb is protected by a curse. That expedition was publicly condemned by a former Mongolian prime minister but Kravitz continued his efforts until he died of heart disease, aged 80, in 2012.

Hope has been revived in recent years by technological advances. California-based research scientist Albert Lin Yu-Min has been leading a crowdsourcing effort to analyse satellite imagery and employ non-invasive tools to search for anomalies underground near Burkhan Khaldun.

Convinced everyone else is hundreds of miles off the mark, however, Nichols has zeroed in on a sacred site he refers to simply as “Mountain X”, and is now attempting to prove that this is where Genghis’ remains lie.

“I already know that there are anomalies down there,” he says. “I know something is under that ground that is not part of the ground.”

“I’ve already been on three expeditions, and I spent the first seven years developing criteria [including distance, terrain and allowances for shamanistic beliefs and the probable use of deception] for locating the tomb of Chinggis Qa’an,” which, according to Nichols, is a more accurate rendering of the name.

A few weeks after our initial phone call, I meet Nichols and his crew over breakfast in Yinchuan. They’ve been in the field for two weeks and have been taking readings on Mountain X using magnetometers and a ground-penetrating radar.

Pocketing a USB stick full of data they’ll spend the next few months analysing, Nichols introduces me to the team. For the final leg of his expedition, I am joining magnetometer expert Jerry Griffith, emergency doctor Stew Lauterbach (“Who’s here to keep me alive,” says Nichols), the explorer’s wife, Becky, a documentary film crew, drivers Qiang and Hao Lipeng and translator Zhu Yvette Youjia, who is also in charge of logistics.

“Our selected site is somewhat complicated, because right now it’s a construction zone,” says Griffith, without giving me the slightest idea of how far we are from Mountain X. “So we’re trying to take the readings around heavy equipment and construction workers. But we took 48 plots or grids and, hopefully, we have enough data to piece together what we want to know, which is whether Genghis Khan’s tomb is where we think it is.”

Our objective over the next week will be to trace the route Genghis’ funeral cortege would have followed.

“We know that he had to be taken from where he died, in [Ningxia’s] Liupan Mountains, back to ancient Mongolia,” says Nichols. “He’s a Mongolian leader and there’s no way you’d bury him in China. So the point now is to track how he got there – nobody’s actually established that before.”

We have to prove that it’s not only a feasible route, but a fast one, he adds.

Alan Nichols' route, decided through on-the-ground research and a process of elimination, shows the funeral cortege following what is now a railway line through a valley from the Liupan Mountains, skirting the Tengger Desert and heading towards “Mountain X”.

Where was Genghis Khan buried?

He ruled over one of the largest empires in history and left such a mark that one in every 200 men alive today is his descendent, but Genghis Khan made sure his remains would rest in peace.

This competition is now closed

Published: February 1, 2019 at 12:00 pm

By keeping to the Mongol tradition of being buried without markings, his tomb has yet to be discovered. According to legend, extreme measures were taken to ensure its location remained secret.

The soldiers in the funeral procession slaughtered everyone they passed, the slaves who built the tomb and then themselves. Other stories claim a river was diverted or that 1,000 horses trampled the ground to remove all evidence of the final resting place.

Such a mystery was enough to get would-be Indiana Joneses intrigued, and the search continues in the vast expanse of Mongolia. Most Mongolians, however, don’t want Genghis Khan found – not out of fear of a world ending curse, but out of respect for their most extraordinary of leaders.

This article was originally published in issue 65 of BBC History Revealed magazine

Searching for the Tomb of Genghis Khan

Explorers Club president Alan Nichols plans an expedition Sept. 19 thru Oct. 4 to search for the tomb of Genghis Khan (or more properly transliterated as Chinggis Qa'an), founder of the world’s largest empire in history and Mongolia’s most revered figure. The search for the tomb, the location of which is one of the greatest mysteries in the world, will take place within the Yinchuan area of China’s Ningxia Autonomous Region, the Liu Pan Mountains in China, the Ordos Desert in China and the Yin Mountains in Inner Mongolia.

Scientists and adventurers have been searching for his burial site for almost 750 years. Qa’an was reportedly buried secretly in a solid silver casket with extraordinary jewels, weapons, artifacts and scores of warriors, slaves and horses. Nichols believes the tomb holds a treasure trove of history and wealth.

To avoid conflict with China authorities, who currently believe Qa’an was buried in Xinjiang, in the Altai Mountain, the official mission will be to track the last days of the emperor, focusing on sites that are recognized in The Secret History of the Mongols by Paul Kahn (Cheng & Tsui, 2005), and by scholars of events that happened in August 1227 when Qa’an died.Alan Nichols says events and places that are supported by history and can be located on the ground now include Yinchuan, the last capital city he conquered, the area where he died in the Liu Pan Mountains, the Ordos Desert, and the Yellow River that his cortege crossed on the way to Mongolia, and a huge Disneyland-like Genghis Khan Mausoleum in the Ordos Desert where, despite the name, the coffin contains no body, only headdresses and accessories.

Genghis Khan is believed to have been born in 1162 and by the time of his death his empire stretched from China to the Caspian Sea in south-central Russia. His grandson, Kublai Khan, the founder of the Yuan Dynasty, expanded Mongolian territories well into Russia and the Middle East, making it the largest contiguous land empire in history.

Nichols and his eight-person team plus drivers, translators and support staff, will hire camels or horses to gauge the distance that the funeral cart might have traveled through the Ordos to test the shaman requirements for prompt burial.

They will cross the Yellow River at the most logical point and investigate the legendary swamp where the funeral cortege cart was "irretrievably" stuck. They will visit the Buddhist temple with the alleged statue of Chinggis Qa'an, interview locals about legends passed down from previous generations, conduct a walking survey of the mountain, and climb the summit of the sacred granite mountain peak where Qa’an is believed to have died.

Nichols expects the expedition will be able to use underground testing equipment to confirm that the location is correct and in the long run, make sure the tomb is protected.

“Although non-Mongolians generally do not want his tomb to be found, we believe it is necessary to find it in order to protect it from looting and indiscriminate excavation,” Nichols said.

The Forgotten Tomb of Genghis Khan: how could the burial place of such a famous figure remain lost to time, and why do some want it to stay that way?

Genghis Khan—an honorary title that often replaces his birth name Temujin—was born sometime between 1151 and 1162. Few records of his early life exist, and what few there are contradictory. What we do know is that he was likely born in Deluun Boldog, near the mountain Burkhan Khaldun and the rivers Onon and Kherlenm in northern Mongolia.

Most people have at least a basic understanding of Genghis Khan’s life as the founder of the Mongol Empire and the first Great Khan, he ruled over one of the largest empires in history. Often considered to be the world’s greatest conqueror, he united the fragmented Mongol tribes and led numerous successful—and brutal—campaigns across Eurasia. Interestingly, despite the savagery of his campaigns, Genghis Khan was noted for his religious tolerance and his encouragement of the arts during his rule, he’s believed to have built more bridges than any other leader in history. He also invented the concept of diplomatic immunity and helped the Silk Road to thrive again with a postal service and protection for merchants.

Sometime in August of 1227, Genghis Khan died. Although we know it was sometime during the fall of Yinchuan, his exact cause of death is unknown. Many attribute it to an injury sustained in battle, but others believe it was from illness, a fall from his horse, or a hunting injury. According to one apocryphal story, he was stabbed by a princess taken as a war prize. Mongols had strict taboos on discussing death, which meant that details were hazy, which in conjunction with the amount of time that’s passed, makes it impossible to say which story is true. Whatever the case, he was dead.

Burial & Legends:

As was traditional in his tribe, Genghis Khan had previously arranged to be buried without markings. His body was returned to northern Mongolia, ostensibly to his birthplace, and buried somewhere along the Onon River and Burkhan Khaldun mountains. Other legends have also said to have asked to be buried directly on Burkhan Khaldun. According to yet another, likely apocryphal, tale related by Marco Polo, his funeral was attended by over 2,000, after which the guests were killed by his army, who were in turn killed by his funeral procession, who then killed any who crossed their path as they took his body to its final resting place. Finally, the slaves who built the tomb were killed, the soldiers who killed them were killed, and the funeral procession committed suicide.

Finding any reliable information in this case is difficult many, many years have passed since Genghis Khan’s death, and his burial place has passed into legend. Most believed sites come from folklore, which suggest such locations as under a River, a forest, Permafrost, or land stampeded flat by horses. Alternatively, some suggest that the funeral procession was a ruse, and Genghis Khan was buried elsewhere, or that only some of his belongings were buried in the believed locations. Another problem is presented by the vagueness of the language at the time, at least five different mountains were referred to as Burkhan Khaldun. And, of course, contradictions exist in the many tales told if his tomb was stampeded over by horses, then the ground must have been wide and flat. But if it was by a river, then how could a stampede have been led there?

Most are unsure of what exactly lies within the tomb—some archaeologists believe that it could be filled with riches, and more importantly, an incredible number of culturally significant artifacts. Genghis Khan’s skeleton would tell us more definitively how he died, as well as how he lived. The graves of Xiongnu kings from the same time period have contained Roman glassware, Chinese chariots, and lots of precious metals and ornaments. But if his tomb is similar to those of the Xiongnu kings, there’s an even bigger problem: they were buried more than 20 meters underground in log chambers, their graves marked only with a square made of stones. If the stones were not there, as is likely in Genghis Khan’s case, then locating it would be incredibly difficult. As one archaeologist put it, it would be like finding a needle in a haystack when you don’t know what the needle looks like.

After Genghis Khan’s death, the general area of his burial—over 240 square miles in area—was declared “Ikh Khorig” or “the Great Taboo,” sealed off to nearly everyone. Trespassing was punishable by death. Even in 1924, when Mongolia became the USSR’s Mongolian People’s Republic, the area remained off-limits, titled “Highly Restricted Area.” One of the only expeditions, led by a group of French archaeologists, ended in the death of two men and rumors of a curse (which has been compounded by unfortunate accidents befalling other expeditions in more recent years). Only in the last 30 years has the area been opened up slightly, and as recently as the 1990s, an expedition to find the tomb led jointly by Japan and Mongolia was canceled due to public protests.

Despite the lack of breakthroughs, the advances in non-invasive archaeology like drones have given many hope, and several expeditions are ongoing. In 2004, the discovery of the ruins of Genghis Khan’s palace led some to believe that clues to his burial site might be found, though none have been unearthed yet. In 2016, a french team discovered what may be a barrow on the top of Burkhan Khaldun unfortunately, it has yet to be verified, since the site is the location of religious pilgrimages and the team was not authorized by the local government to carry out any search. Today, women are not allowed on the mountain at all, and the surrounding area is strictly protected. Some Mongolian archaeologists also point to the team’s unfamiliarity with Mongolian traditions and say that just because it’s Genghis Khan’s burial place in folklore doesn’t mean he’s really buried there. (Note: I also saw a few conflicting reports saying that the barrow might already have been found to be nothing).

Other teams, including one led by National Geographic, have used satellite technology with no luck. Most searches are complicated by Mongolia’s enormous size and lack of adequate roads although researchers have looked at thousands of satellite images, they still don’t know exactly what to look for. Thus far, about 45 sites of ‘archaeological and cultural significance’ have been identified, but none are the tomb of Genghis Khan.

Some researchers remain convinced that searches are still happening in the wrong places, and that the tomb is nowhere close to Burkhan Khaldun. Whether this is true or not, it muddles the already complex quest.

Final Thoughts & Questions:

Interestingly, many Mongolians don’t want Genghis Khan’s tomb found. It is not because, as some foreigners claim, they fear a curse, but rather out of respect if Genghis Khan went through all that effort to remain hidden, why not let him rest? Many feel that the continued searches for his tomb are disrespectful, and will only lead to a disturbance of his final peace. Alternatively, many foreign archaeologists claim that with the advancements in technology and increasing population, the question of Genghis Khan’s tomb is not if it will be found, but when. Wouldn’t it be better then, they say, that it be found by people who care about preserving it?

Today, rumors exist, even, that Genghis Khan’s final resting place is already known to a select few who, in accordance with his final wishes, are keeping his last secret.

How many of the stories about Genghis Khan’s funeral and burial are true?

Search to Find Tomb of Genghis Khan Picks up Pace - History

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Comment removed ( Score: 5, Funny)

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Re: ( Score: 3)

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Re: ah the great ghengis khan burial ( Score: 2, Informative)

Actually there are many different variations for the spelling of the Norse "All-Father" Odin, although in English Odin is most common.

On European websites it's more common to see Oden though.

But properly there was often a V sound in front of his name, for example Wednesday used to be Wodenstag (Wodens Day) in German (W being a V sound).

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Wotan approves this message.

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History Channel ( Score: 5, Insightful)

Re:History Channel ( Score: 4, Interesting)

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What's worse, that, or putting Honey Boo Boo on The "Learning" Channel?

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I learned not to watch TLC anymore!

Mission Accomplished! Their job is now to teach people not to watch TLC.

Re:History Channel ( Score: 4, Insightful)

To be fair the history channel only turned to crap I the last 3-4 years.
Tic has been cheap from the beginning.

The only Chanel that's worse is syfy which lost its science fiction audeince to wrestlers. You can even hear about Syfy channe executives talk about it not realizing they themselves are what screwed to pooch. I used to watch the soft channel regularly. Now it is hardly at all. Even the b rated scifi lame movies suck.

Re:History Channel ( Score: 4, Interesting)

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Hey as long as the wrestling includes badly rendered radioactive octopi I don't see that it's much different from standard SyFy offerings.

Re:History Channel ( Score: 4, Informative)

To be honest, its former self was the Hitler Channel. You could scarcely watch three shows in a row without one, usually two, being about Hitler.

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Honestly, that's what I called it too.

The problem with American TV is that it does nothing to help advance society in an interesting way. It's all about "look at this car crash/hillbilly! It's so terrible! Can you believe that?!"

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Re:History Channel - Real History costs too much. ( Score: 2)

Re:History Channel - Real History costs too much. ( Score: 4, Interesting)

Get four history professors who have divergent viewpoints and hate each other. Get somebody cool for a moderator, like Jon Stewart. Then let those boys go at it.

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You could even name it History Deathmatch. I'd watch it.

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Get four history professors who have divergent viewpoints and hate each other. Get somebody cool for a moderator, like Jon Stewart. Then let those boys go at it.

Stewart? PLEASE think of somebody else. I'd rather have Candy Crawley or some other lifeless NPR host over Jon. How about a BBC new reader or something? Heck, dust off Allen Colmes and Newt to tag team or something. Other than that, I LIKE the idea..

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They found a format that essentially boils down to historian on a road trip, it's probably dirt cheap since well the hostorians gets paid by a different goverment organisation and if you need extras for some staged meneuvre theres always the army.

There is a large subculture of historical reenactment groups and mideval fairs in Europe, along with a good number of working museums and plenty of castly ruins making a telegenic good backdrop. And well the BBC is producing more for the public school system the

Re:History Channel ( Score: 5, Insightful)

The problem with American TV is the average American

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Discovery channel was a lot better (as far as I remember it several years ago): one third about nazi/WW2, on third about dinosaurs, and the last third about sharks.

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Haven't most all of the cable TV channels turned into pure sensationalist shit?

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Re:History Channel ( Score: 5, Interesting)

I happen to know a couple of people that are involved in Cable contract discussions. From what they tell me (and hey, they could be totally wrong but it does make sense) the industry generally thinks that Discovery networks (discovery channel) is soon going to get cut from a lot of networks, soon followed by A&E (History channel) because people are getting fed up with the price of the different tiers. Cable companies have to cut something and those 2 networks are nothing more than reality show dustbins. Just like Fox is losing networks left and right now because the fact of the matter is most people just want a "news channel" and CNN is just fine for that and doesn't have a giant group of people that hate them like Fox does. These networks have to drastically cut their price or improve their content or they're not going to get carried anymore.

The companies themselves may be fine. they are making a lot of money in other things. Discovery holds patents on ebooks for some crazy reason. But the times of filling your entire channel with reality TV that costs you virtually nothing and has no depth is over. AMC has proven that even a small investment can have huge returns.

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Just like Fox is losing networks left and right now because the fact of the matter is most people just want a "news channel" and CNN is just fine for that and doesn't have a giant group of people that hate them like Fox does.

Fox New has the biggest audience in between the cable news outlets and the only reason it has been removed from any networks is because it has started to command more fees from the distributors and cable operators (which is why dish turned them off). If cable operators are looking for space (which they are not) there are plenty of lesser watched networks they can ditch.

According to the Neilson ratings, the pecking order is Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox Business News, and Headline news, in that order. Ca

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great plug, maybe Sith McFarlane could do a COSMOS like injection for history too.

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Admittedly it's been a few years since I had cable TV, but have they really fallen that far? Back when we got rid of cable, the History Channel was more like The WWII Channel.

Re:History Channel ( Score: 5, Insightful)

Oak Island [] is a real place, off the coast of Nova Scotia.

It's long been rumored to have pirate treasure. There's a show about people looking to find it.

Of course, it leads to a bunch of nutjobs with crazy theories, like it has for decades. But, History Channel is all about nutjobs with crazy theories these days.

History Channel has become a joke with things like Ghost Hunters, Ancient Aliens, and enough crap to make you think they've jumped the shark and become a source you can no longer rely on for actual history.

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Oak Island is actually very interesting. The more you read into the history and find all the weird stuff going on, the more it seems like there has to be SOMETHING down there. The intricacies of what has been found to date preclude it being some sort of prank.

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That's what makes it "compelling" TV people think there must be SOMETHING, what will these people find? Will they find it? Must tune in again!

That's what networks want more than anything.

Re:History Channel Solved ( Score: 2)

They found dozens of layers of wood, then sand, then wood, then sand.

Finally they discovered what the original builder was burying. his OCD.

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And soon they'll uncover the secret message about Ovaltine.

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They found dozens of layers of wood, then sand, then wood, then sand.

They being a bunch of treasure hunters 150years ago who didn't actually keep records nor save any of their discoveries. At a time when divination and other treasure hunting scams were pretty common in the region oak island is located in. None of the famous objects recovered have survived, and the closes thing we got to contemporary newspaper reports are somewhat critical of the whole venture

There have been a couple of serious engineering reports made on the dig, by prospective investors who backed out

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The difference here is all the attempts at Oak Island, including the first discovery of the pit in the early 1795 had multiple witnesses and were fully documented thereafter. And it is not as simple as "well someone found it earlier and filled it back in", because if that was the case then all of the depth marker platforms would not be there.

Sorry if I seem a bit passionate but I have been fascinated by Oak Island ever since I read a book about it as a teenager. The most interesting thing I find is even wit

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Someone who discovered it before does not mean recently. Ie, pirate buries his gold, comes back ten years later and retrieves it. Why would a pirate bury the gold in a way that was unretrievable?

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I share your fascination with Oak Island although I'll admit to being more skeptical about the "artifacts" found in the various digs than I used to be.

For one, the chain of documentation about previous finds up to the early 20th century is a little dubious -- it's not like there was some set of neutral observers who preserved all the finds in one place for posterity and future scientific research. IIRC, much of what was found has been lost and what has been retained is of unauthenticatable veracity.

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A lot of channels are going that way. I can't remember the last time I saw a music video or music related program on MTV and Syfy is not any better at living up to it's name.

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and Syfy is not any better at living up to it's name

LOL, just how hard can it be to live up to Syence Fyction?

At that point you can pretty much broadcast anything.

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History Channel has become a joke with things like Ghost Hunters, Ancient Aliens, and enough crap to make you think they've jumped the shark and become a source you can no longer rely on for actual history.

Yup. The joke over on the History Stack [] is that they are fixing to change their name to HyFy. Posting a question based on something you saw there is a really good way to get your question closed.

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Oak Island is an island off Nova Scotia where people have been digging for some kind of treasure for about 200 years or so.

AFAIK, there isn't anything down the hole(s) that have been dug but supposedly there has been some stuff (coconut fibers, wood platforms, etc) that have been found at various depths that defy easy explanation and suggest some kind of previous digging and burial.

Whether it's total bullshit or not is kind of beside the point, it makes a fun story to read even if the only thing down there

Re:History Channel ( Score: 5, Interesting)

An MIT guy figured out what is there. Its a ship, that sank into the swamp bow first. They used coconut fibers for seating of the rowers back then. Explains the "evenly spaced wood platforms" as well. I remember the show back in the 80s "In Search of" when Lenard Nimoy talked about it.

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I haven't watched the History Channel show about Oak Island but I'll admit to being a willing sucker for pretty much anything else, having read a couple of books when I've run across them in used book stores.

But I don't think I've ever heard the buried ship hypothesis, which makes sense. I had always assumed that anything "that shouldn't have been there" found in the digs was more or less a planted item designed to whip up additional money from investors. Since "relics" have been found by every group that

Re:History Channel ( Score: 5, Interesting)

Admittedly it's been a few years since I had cable TV, but have they really fallen that far? Back when we got rid of cable, the History Channel was more like The WWII Channel.

Oak Island is supposed to be a Mystery. and if you read many of the sensationalized accounts of it from many disreputable reporters that conveniently leave out certain facts about the place it sounds very intriguing. But the fact is, the place isn't a mystery at all.

Some kid swam out to it and found a tree with a pulley hanging from a branch a long time ago. That bit is likely true. But then, a guy heard about it and went out there. He was a Free Mason. And now, I don't mean the ones that rule the world. I mean the real ones that are basically like the Shriners that ware funny hats, drive gocarts and throw candy to kids in parades, and more importantly absolutely love secrets, mysteries, puzzles and hidden treasure. It's their bread and butter. They also like to relate all these mysterious stories to non-members to try and get you to join. If you ever meet someone at a party that starts talking about the Free Masons, run away. They'er either not a Free Mason and a conspiracy nut. or they are a Free Mason and a conspiracy nut.

Anyways, from that guy on, every single person to investigate or own the island was a free mason. Including Franklin Roosevelt! You cannot trust anything they say about the place. The crazy thing about free masons is that they are usually conspiracy nuts, and their conspiracies always involve their own club. Once you realize that every single person to investigate the island was a conspiracy theorist, and that you can't trust any of their accounts, it makes a lot more sense. I'm pretty sure every rumor about the free masons ruling the world was likely started by an actual Free Mason. Not only that, they do things to make themselves even more mysterious because they think that's cool. That rock kind of looks like a skull? Well, they'll report it as 100% a skull and they're pretty sure the shape of the eye sockets indicate it's a model of the first popes skull. clearly leading to some secret of the ages.

Long story short, Oak Island is what happens when you take a couple dozen conspiracy nuts and let them dig in the same hole for over 200 years and give them lots of media attention. The only thing buried on that island is all hope that those men would ever have to face reality.

Search to Find Tomb of Genghis Khan Picks up Pace - History

According to legend, Genghis Khan lies buried somewhere beneath the dusty steppe of Northeastern Mongolia, entombed in a spot so secretive that anyone who made the mistake of encountering his funeral procession was executed on the spot. Once he was below ground, his men brought in horses to trample evidence of his grave, and just to be absolutely sure he would never be found, they diverted a river to flow over their leader's final resting place.

Albert Lin, a Calit2-affiliated researcher at UC San Diego, plans to use advanced visualization technologies such as satellite imagery and Calit2's 287-million pixel HIPerSpace display wall to pinpoint the location of the lost tomb of Genghis Khan.

What Khan and his followers couldn't have envisioned was that nearly 800 years after his death, scientists at UC San Diego's Center for Interdisciplinary Science in Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) would be able to locate his tomb using advanced visualization technologies whose origins can be traced back to the time of the Mongolian emperor himself.

"As outrageous as it might sound, we're looking for the tomb of Genghis Khan," says Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin, an affiliated researcher for CISA3. "Genghis Khan was one of the most exceptional men in all of history, but his life is too often dismissed as being that of a bloodthirsty warrior. Few people in the West know about his legacy — that he united warring tribes of Mongolia and merged them into one, that he introduced the East to the West making explorations like those of Marco Polo possible, that he tried to create a central world currency, that he introduced a written language to the Mongol people and created bridges that we still use today within the realm of international relations.

"But as great a man he was, there are few clues and no factual evidence about Genghis Khan's burial, which is why we need to start using technology to solve this mystery."

Lin and several colleagues — including Professor Maurizio Seracini, the director of CISA3 and the man behind the search for Leonardo da Vinci's lost "Battle of Anghiari" painting — are hoping to use advanced visualization and analytical technologies available at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) to pinpoint Khan's tomb and conduct a non-invasive archaeological analysis of the area where he is believed to be buried. Lin plans to work with Seracini to establish a position at UCSD that will allow him to spearhead the three-year Valley of the Khans project, which will require $700,000 in funding for eight researchers (including all expedition costs).

Khan's grave is presumably in a region bordered by Mongolia's Onon River and the Khan khentii mountains near his birthplace in Khentii Aimag, and some experts believe his sons and other family members were later buried beside him. The researchers, however, have little additional information to go on. Directly following Khan's death in 1227, the area around his tomb was deemed forbidden by the emperor's guards, and later in the 20th century, by strict Russian occupation, which prohibited Mongolians from even talking about Genghis Khan because they felt it might lead to nationalist uprising. Only since the 1990s have researchers been allowed in the area, and several other research teams have tried unsuccessfully to locate the tomb.

Lin hopes of success are based on his access to unparalleled technology at Calit2 and CISA3 to pinpoint the area where Khan might have been laid to rest, find the tomb itself and then develop a virtual recreation of it using various methods of spectral and digital imaging.

A 14th-century portrait of Genghis Khan. The painting is now located in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan.

Explains Lin : "If you have a large burial, that's going to have an impact on the landscape. To find Khan's tomb, we'll be using remote sensing techniques and satellite imagery to take digital pictures of the ground in the surrounding region, which we'll be able to display on Calit2's 287-million pixel HIPerSpace display wall. But we also want to make this an interactive research project and get the public involved. One of our ideas is to utilize something like the International Space Station's 'EarthCam' program at UCSD, which recruits middle school students to control a satellite camera and take pictures of the earth. We'd have them do the same thing, only they'd be taking pictures of the area where Genghis' tomb might be located."

Lin says another approach would be to combine social networking with visualization techniques to replicate something like the online "Find Steve Fossett" project, which enlisted members of the general public to flag anomalous satellite images in the hopes that they could locate the missing adventurer.

"Once we've narrowed down this region in Mongolia to a certain area," Lin continues, "we'll use techniques such as ground penetrating radar, electromagnetic induction and magnetometry to produce non-destructive, non-invasive surveys. We'll then work with people in UCSD's electrical engineering department to develop visual algorithms that will allow us to create a high-resolution, 3-D representation of the site."

Notably, these computer-based technologies are modern evolutions of moveable type and the printing press — innovations that historian Jack Weatherford argues were spread by way of the Mongols as they conquered parts of Europe (Chinese printing technologies predated Gutenberg's printing press by several hundred years). Lin speculates that remnants of those international conquests might even turn up in Khan's tomb, but, he adds, "The process of doing an archaeological dig is up to the Mongolian government."

Lin says he's hoping to collaborate with the Mongolian government and national universities, through the help of Amaraa and Bayarsihan Baljinnayam — siblings from what he endearingly calls his "Mongolian family." They will assist with language interpretation and expedition coordination, and most importantly, local media and political support — connections that will prove very useful as Lin navigates through the often complex arena of international relations.

Noting that his project team also includes San Diego State University Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry William G. Tong, UCSD Field Systems Engineer Nathan Ricklin, UCSD Computer Vision Engineer Shay Har-Noy and Independent Engineering Geologist Charles Ince, Lin says he sees parallels between the collaborative work he's doing with CISA3 and Genghis' own push to adapt to new technologies.

"He took the best resources of entire world — whether weaponry or medicine -- and adopted those technologies into his own methodology. We're trying to implement that same adaptation to many disciplines into our own work. We're taking the great work that's already been done in archaeology and further developing it by using technologies from other disciplines -- computer vision, social networking, electrical engineering — while at the same time never forgetting fundamentals of historical search.

Lin (pictured at right), lived and worked with a family of horsemen while on a recent expedition to Mongolia.

Despite the technologies and expertise available to him, Lin says he is well aware of the great challenges the project poses. "One consistent fact is that there is no fact," he admits. "It's a story of secrets upon secrets and myths upon myths.

"If I could meet Genghis Khan today, I would ask how he would have wanted to be remembered in history," Lin muses. "The fact that he died in his bed surrounded by people who loved him and never had a single General turn his back on him, the fact that the loyalty of his people is so sound it can be heard across the world — these are the marks of one of the most impressive military heroes of all time. This is an example of a leader who was ruthless, strict, disciplined, and in a lot of ways, extremely honorable. If he was able to rewrite his own history, I wonder how he'd want it heard."

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Watch the video: Genghis Khans Lost Tomb, Part 1: The Search Begins. Nat Geo Live (August 2022).