Genghis Khan’s military base discovered in southwest Mongolia

Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck

The ruins of a 13th century military outpost believed to have belonged to Genghis Khan has reportedly been located by a team of Japanese and Mongolian archaeologists.

According to io9, the discovery of the base in southwestern Mongolia could provide new insight into the Mongol Empire’s westward expansion strategy, as well as shed new light on trade routes established by the civilization between the 13th and 14th centuries.

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“We hope the discovery will be useful in ascertaining the history of the Mongolian Plateau between the 13th and 14th centuries,” lead investigator Koichi Matsuda, professor emeritus of Mongol Empire history at Osaka International University, told The Asahi Shimbun.

Other discoveries

Matsuda’s team surveyed ruins approximately 880 kilometers west of Ulan Bator in 2001, and discovered that geographical features around them were similar to a landscape depicted in a book on travel that had been written by a medieval leader in Chinese Taoism.

They also uncovered fragments of Chinese ceramics dating back to the 1200s. An aerial image taken in 2001 shows the remains of a fortress surrounded by a soil wall measuring 200 meters by 200 meters. Carbon dating on wood chips found at the site found that they were from the 12th and 13th century, while animal bones were dates to the 14th century.

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Based on their findings, the archaeologists told reporters that the items were from a castle that served as a base of military operations during Genghis Khan’s invasion of central Asia. The fortress was reportedly commissioned by one of the conqueror’s aides in 1212, which confirms the actual location of the base for the first time, the Archaeology News Network added.

Haven’t found the body yet

At the time of the Khan’s death, the Mongol empire was the largest in the world, and remains the second-largest in history after the British Empire, according to 9 News in Australia. Khan and his descendants ruled an empire that covered 33 million square kilometers at its peak – an empire that encompasses one-fourth of the world’s population, the Australian news outlet added.

While archaeologists have managed to locate and identify Genghis Khan’s former military base, they still have been unable to find the final resting place of the former conqueror, according to the History Channel. Some stories say that Khan died from injuries sustained in a fall from a horse in 1227, other sources claim that he died from malaria or an arrow wound. In fact, there are even “questionable claims” that he was killed after trying to force himself on a Chinese princess.

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“Of all the enigmas surrounding the Khan’s life, perhaps the most famous concerns how it ended,” as well as where he is buried, the website added. “According to legend, his funeral procession slaughtered everyone they came in contact with during their journey and then repeatedly rode horses over his grave to help conceal it. The tomb is most likely on or around a Mongolian mountain called Burkhan Khaldun, but to this day its precise location is unknown.”


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