Unlike other world rulers, Genghis Khan was laid to rest in an unmarked grave somewhere in Mongolia rather than in an elaborate mausoleum. But did you know that no one has ever located Genghis Khan’s tomb?
No one has discovered Genghis Khan’s tomb in the 800 years since his death.
Where is Genghis Khan’s Tomb?
Even though access to the Kenthii Mountains is restricted, researchers have searched the area for traces of Genghis Khan’s tomb. Drones were used by French archaeologist Pierre-Henri Giscard and imaging expert Raphael Hautefort to survey a suspicious-looking tumulus or mound on the slopes of Burkhan Khaldun in 2015.
The survey, which was conducted without local authorities’ permission, could not peer inside the tumulus. However, it revealed that the structure was man-made and may have been modeled after Chinese imperial tombs. This tumulus has the potential to be a strong contender for Genghis Khan’s tomb. We will know for sure once the Mongolian government allows us to get closer.
Damba Bazargur, a Mongolian Academy of Sciences historical geographer who traveled with Baumer, believes the tomb is 90 kilometers southeast of the Strictly Protected Area, at the confluence of the rivers Khurkhin and Onon, where Genghis is thought to have united the Mongol tribes to form the Mongol Empire during the Imperial Diet of 1206.
Disappointed by these failed attempts, research scientist Albert Yu-Min Lin decided to crowdsource his search. In 2010, he enlisted the help of 10,000 volunteers to examine over 6,000 square kilometers of satellite imagery for geographical anomalies. The resulting data was fed into an AI, generating a list of 55 potential sites, none containing Genghis’ body. The hunt goes on. (Source: Big Think)
Genghis Khan’s Death
We might learn more about Genghis Khan’s tomb by investigating his death’s circumstances. When he died, the Khan was fighting the Tanguts in northwest China. According to historian Frank McLynn, author of Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered the World, this would have made the 311-mile journey back to Mongolia difficult.
McLynn speculates that Genghis Khan’s tomb could be found somewhere in northwestern China, possibly in the Ordos region. Two Mongolian chronicles, the Altan Tobchi (1604) and the Erden Tobchi (1605), support this hypothesis (1662). The former claim Genghis Khan’s coffin arrived in Mongolia empty, while the latter claims his tent and clothes were buried at the Ordos.
Another Genghis Khan biographer, Paul Lococo, Jr., claims that Genghis Khan’s tomb is unquestionably in Mongolia. “Arrangements had been made to bury the Khan along the Onon River near a sacred mountain,” according to Lococo’s sources. This “sacred mountain” could be Burkhan Khaldun, which is also thought to be the Khan’s birthplace.
Burkhan Khaldun is now part of the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area, a region of Mongolia designated by the Mongolian government as wildlife preservation and religious heritage site. The region is largely inaccessible to both tourists and researchers. Hunting and mining are prohibited, and even herding, which is otherwise unregulated, is strictly regulated. (Source: Big Think)