Military stronghold for Mongolian Conqueror Genghis Khan Found by Archaeologists
Scenes depicted in a Chinese medieval travel book gave clues to researchers, helping them locate what is said to be a 13 th century military outpost used by Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan.
As reported by The Asahi Shimbun , a team of Japanese and Mongolian archaeologists led by Koichi Matsuda, professor emeritus of Mongol Empire history at Osaka International University , has discovered the ruins of a fortress established by the Mongol leader and “commissioned by a close aide to Genghis Khan in 1212.”
Battle between Mongol warriors and the Chinese. Public Domain
The outpost was first investigated in 2001, after the researchers connected landscapes illustrated in a medieval Chinese travel guide to actual geographical features, approximately 550 miles (880 kilometers) west of Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
Since that time archaeologists have unearthed pieces of Chinese ceramics, and aerial photographs that show the area was encompassed by an earthen wall, measuring 656 feet by 656 feet (200 meters by 200 meters). An assortment of animal bones and wooden chips were located at the site. Carbon dating determined the wooden pieces were from the 12 th to 13 th century, and the bones from the 14 th century.
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The researchers surmise the site was originally a castle which was later used as a military base for Genghis Khan during his invasions across Asia.
Matsuda tells The Asahi Simbun, “We hope the discovery will be useful in ascertaining the history of the Mongolian Plateau between the 13th and 14th centuries.”
Archaeologists and historians continue to search for the final resting place and elusive tomb of the infamous Khan who united and conquered nomadic tribes across Eurasia into what became the largest contiguous empire in history.
Portrait of Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan). Yuan Dynasty. Public Domain
International Business Times writes that, “According to legend, the ruler asked to be buried with no markings. His soldiers, transporting his body, killed anyone they passed en route, then killed themselves so the secret could never be revealed.”
Featured Image: Excavation of fortress established by Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan unearthed in Mongolia. Credit: Japanese-Mongolian joint research team
By Liz Leafloor