Herodotus Returns

Help find Genghis Khan’s Tomb
July 13, 2010, 8:58 am
Filed under: Mongolia | Tags: ,

Cool article from Wired about how National Geographic Digital Media is recruiting internet surfers the world over to assist in an archaeological survey for Gengis Khan’s tomb in Mongolia.

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.

More on helping find Genghis Khan’s tomb.

2000-year-old Mongolian tomb holds skeleton of Western man
February 9, 2010, 9:48 am
Filed under: Mongolia | Tags: , ,

Two thousand years ago, the world was a bigger place than it is today. With horses, donkeys and slow boats as primary modes of transportation, people didn’t do a lot of traveling. But two recent finds show us that the world back then wasn’t quite immune to globalization. A few weeks ago, archaeologists found the skeleton of an East-Asian man in a cemetery outside Rome. It was the first time an East Asian man – a slave, in this case – had been found buried in the Roman Empire. A few days ago, Discovery reported archaeologists finding the skeleton of a western man in an ancient tomb in Mongolia. The man, who displayed features of a speaker of Indo-European language, was found in a prominent place in the Xionogu cemetery.

The Duurlig Nars man’s genetic signature supports the idea that Indo-European migrations to northeastern Asia started before 2,000 years ago. This notion is plausible, but not confirmed, says geneticist Peter Underhill of Stanford University. Further investigations of Y chromosome mutation frequencies in modern populations will allow for a more precise tracing of the Duurlig Nars man’s geographic roots, Underhill predicts.

Here’s more on that find.