Japanese researchers who made the first comprehensive study in six decades of a crumbling brick tower from an 11th-century fortress town in eastern Mongolia say their findings shed light on the little-known nomadic Khitan people.
The tower is the centerpiece of ruins in Kherlen Bars, a settlement that dates to the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), when the Khitan flourished. The site is about 600 kilometers east of Ulan Bator, Mongolia’s capital.
A team of researchers from Nara University made a number of discoveries about the structure of the tower. They also found remnants of a mural that suggests the Khitan were more advanced than historians realized. Read more.
A federal judge in New York has sentenced a Florida fossils dealer to three months in prison for smuggling a 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton out of Mongolia.
Eric Prokopi (proh-KAHP’-ee) of Gainesville also must serve three months in community confinement.
The government said Prokopi smuggled the bones from the Gobi Desert into the U.S. and then assembled them.
The skeleton was sold by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions for more than $1 million. The government said the dinosaur skeleton was mislabeled as reptile bones from Great Britain. The deal was suspended.
The skeleton has been returned to Mongolia. (source)
HOHHOT (Xinhua) — Archaeologists opened a black lacquer coffin on Saturday while unearthing a 1,500-year-old tomb in a pasture region of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Archaeological work is still under way. Experts so far have only been able to identify the tomb’s owner as an aristocratic woman of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534/535).
Archaeologists carefully opened the pinewood coffin on Saturday and found the remains of a person wrapped in silk clothing. She had thick black hair with a metal headband and wore fur boots.
It is not yet known which ethnic group the woman was from. Archaeologists found a bow, a dagger, pottery jars and bowls in the tomb. Read more.
For unsuspecting herdsmen in the 13th century, April showers didn’t bring May flowers—they brought Mongol hordes.
New research by a team of tree-ring scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory may have uncovered the reason why an obscure band of nomadic Mongol horsemen were able to sweep through much of Asia in a few meteoric decades 800 years ago, conquering everything in their path: They enjoyed an unprecedented, and yet-to-be-repeated, 15-year run of bountiful rains and mild weather on the normally cold and arid steppes.
By sampling tree rings in the gnarled and twisted Siberian pines in the Hangay Mountains in central Mongolia, the team pieced together a remarkably precise chronology of local climatic conditions stretching from the year 900 A.D. to the present. Read more.
As competing researchers race to locate Genghis Khan’s tomb, discoveries by German and Mongolian archaeologists are shedding light on his son Ögödei’s equally impressive accomplishments.
His end didn’t begin heroically. The Mongolian ruler simply fell off his horse. His hands and legs must have lost their strength. It was an embarrassing incident from which Genghis Khan never recovered.
Shortly thereafter, a procession of slaves and warriors escorted the ruler’s body, wrapped in a white felt blanket, to its final resting place. Slivers of fragrant sandalwood were placed in the grave to prevent insects from gnawing at the body of the Great Khan.
But where exactly did the subjects bury the body of this tyrant, who is still revered by Mongolians today? Over the past century, scores of adventurers and archaeologists have searched in vain for Genghis Khan’s grave. Read more.
OSAKA—Two massive slabs of stone inscribed in ancient Turkic script have been found on the steppes of eastern Mongolia, the first such discovery in over a century, a Japanese researcher said July 16.
The epigraphs date from the mid-eighth century, said Takashi Osawa, a professor of ancient Turkic history at Osaka University’s graduate school.
He said the finds may offer invaluable clues to the political systems and institutions of the Gokturk people, who faced the Sui and Tang dynasties in China in times of peace and war as they reigned over the steppes of Central Asia. Read more.
A group of researchers led by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) has discovered the first scientific evidence of genetic blending between Europeans and Asians in the remains of ancient Scythian warriors living over 2,000 years ago in the Altai region of Mongolia. Contrary to what was believed until now, the results published in PLoS ONE indicate that this blending was not due to an eastward migration of Europeans, but to a demographic expansion of local Central Asian populations, thanks to the technological improvements the Scythian culture brought with them.
The Altai is a mountain range in Central Asia occupying territories of Russia and Kazakhstan to the west and of Mongolia and China to the east. Historically, the Central Asian steppes have been a corridor for Asian and European populations, resulting in the region’s large diversity in population today. Read more.
HOHHOT — Archaeologists of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have reconstituted a 5,300-year-old pottery statue from fragments unearthed in north China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, it was announced on Saturday.
The debris of the pottery statue was found at the Xinglonggou relics site in Aohan banner of Chifeng city in May, Xinhua news agency reported.
Experts began to excavate the debris on June 30 and using 65 fragments finished piecing the status together on Friday, said Liu Guoxiang, head of an archaeology team of Inner Mongolia.
The restored seated figure is 55-cm high and has a vivid facial expression with bulging eyes.
"The statue may be of a wizard or leader during the Ho