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Science

Explorer Plans Hunt For Genghis Khan's Long-Lost Tomb 243

Posted by samzenpus
from the awesome-digs dept.
Velcroman1 writes "The tomb of brutal Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan — the one who created the world's most powerful empire by raiding and invading across Eurasia, not Kirk's nemesis — is a lost treasure archaeologists have sought for years. And one man thinks he knows where it is. Last fall Alan Nichols, the president of The Explorers Club, mapped out possible locations for the tomb of Khan (also known as Chinnggis Qa'an). His hypothesis: Khan's tomb is located in the Liupan Mountains in Northern China, where the emperor who was born in 1162 and is said to have perished from an arrow wound in August 1227. Next fall, Nichols plans the next phase of his research: pinpointing Khan's exact resting place. 'Ghengis Khan's tomb is my obsession,' Nichols, a noted authority on the emperor, said recently. 'I couldn't stop thinking about it. But I'm not happy just reading about it, or knowing about it. I need to have my feet on it.'"
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Explorer Plans Hunt For Genghis Khan's Long-Lost Tomb

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 18, 2013 @01:17PM (#45456161)

    *gestures*

    • Wrong Harrison Ford franchise
      Considering the size of his empire, I'm surprised there hasn't been an Indiana Jones (let's say a fourth movie, since the third was really good) about preventing the Nazis from finding it.

      • by Sique (173459) on Monday November 18, 2013 @01:50PM (#45456447) Homepage
        Probably because everything Indiana Jones seeks for has religious motives (and I include the aliens in the fourth one into religion) and magical powers. Gengis Khan instead is mainly a historical and political person. If there are any religious connotations around him, then they are without any real relevance to us. Gengis Khan might play a role in shamanistic rituals for mongolian tribes, but the main intended audience of Indiana Jones movies are not mongolians.
        • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday November 18, 2013 @02:03PM (#45456561) Journal

          Dunno - given the sheer number of cultures that the Mongols absorbed, there's likely something in there somewhere (even Orthodox or Nestorian if you want to stay Christian about the artifact in question.)

          As a bonus, instead of Nazis**, he could hunt it down before the Japanese Army gets it (given that they started invading China and Mongolia as early as the mid-1930s), or if you want to make minds go 'splodey, get it before the Red Army does, and have it be the (way) earliest bit of Cold War action.

          ** incidentally, the Nazis did launch a real-world expedition into Tibet and roundabouts looking for the whole racial origin thing, so they'd work as bad guys too, depending on what specific region in Asia we're talking about (though Khan's tomb would likely no longer be of much relevance, methinks.)

          • As a bonus, instead of Nazis**, he could hunt it down before the Japanese Army gets it (given that they started invading China and Mongolia as early as the mid-1930s), or if you want to make minds go 'splodey, get it before the Red Army does, and have it be the (way) earliest bit of Cold War action.

            Ooh, and Doolitle's raid on Japan, while publicly described as a morale-booster for post Pearl Harbor America and a propaganda tool in Japan, was actually designed to distract the Japanese military from pursuit of the Khan artifacts!

            You could even say the reason the bomber crews ditched in China wasn't really about the inability to land bombers on a carrier at all... it was to tie up those Japanese ground troops who ended up hunting the Americans.

  • by deodiaus2 (980169) on Monday November 18, 2013 @01:21PM (#45456199)
    Will it be possible to identify his tomb after all these years? How are we sure that even if we find such an ornately decorated tomb, that Khan is the one buried there, instead of some relative or whatnot. I don't know, but many cultures have superstitions about their corpse in the afterlife, so that might be a motivation to "hide" the real corpse?
  • "But I'm not happy just reading about it, or knowing about it. I need to have my feet on it.'"

    Sounds liike somebody needs to double up on their meds.

    Better Living Through Chemistry

  • Perhaps China has ideas of it own on this subject. I'd think they would want to do this search themselves.
  • http://www.khaaan.com/ [khaaan.com]

    (Dopey Stupid slashdot filter kept blocking me from just typing it out... "too many caps makes it look like you're yelling" O'RLY?!)

  • (Indiana Jones voice) That's usually when the ground falls out from underneath your feet.
  • Random fact, Khan has 16 million descendants [nationalgeographic.com].

    • He lived well.

    • I don't think 'lover' is the best descriptor of the man's behavior in conquered lands. He's basically history's most "successful" rapist.
      • by higuita (129722)

        Actually he didn't need that... as the chief of a huge empire, many girls/women/families wanted to be connect to him, specially with kids, in hope to increase their power or guarantee the safety of their bloodlines

  • by themushroom (197365) on Monday November 18, 2013 @01:46PM (#45456425) Homepage

    until I took an arrow to the chest. (MongoliaRim)

    • From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

      Marco Polo writes of Chingis-khan's death:

      But at the end of those six years he went against a certain castle that was called CAAJU, and there he was shot with an arrow in the knee, so that he died of his wound. A great pity it was, for he was a valiant man and a wise.
      —Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo, Book 1, Chapter 50

  • the one who created the world's most powerful empire by raiding and invading across Eurasia, not Kirk's nemesis

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  • I'm certain the discovery was chronicled in the book "Treasure Of Khan" where Dirk Pitt ... oh wait ;)

  • by BringsApples (3418089) on Monday November 18, 2013 @02:02PM (#45456547)
    From their page:

    Founded in New York City in 1904, The Explorers Club promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. The Club’s members have been responsible for an illustrious series of famous firsts: First to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean, first to the surface of the moon—all accomplished by our members.

    • Wait a minute. They beat Neil Armstrong to the Moon?? Why didn't they tell anyone about that? They could have made a fortune off the merchandising rights, not to mention increased memberships.

      I guess they're better explorers than businessmen.

  • by Wdi (142463) on Monday November 18, 2013 @02:02PM (#45456551)

    That guy is a rich retired lawyer, not an archeologist or historian. See his profile at

    http://www.explorers.org/index.php/about/explorers_club_president

    There are zero indications in the linked article that they plan to include any professionals on their expedition, and in his portrait there is no record that he has ever teamed up with such on previous endeavors. Looting or just damaging a tomb of this importance by amateurs, should it be found, would be an enormous cultural loss. A painstaking archeological dig would probably take 20 years and proceed with extreme caution. These guys do not look like they have the patience - to me they certainly look like they would prefer instant gratification and fame by brandishing a few choice artefacts from the tomb if they can find it.

  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Monday November 18, 2013 @02:03PM (#45456557)

    Just because someone at Fox News put "Noted Authority" on the Chiron under a TV guest doesn't mean they know what they are talking about.

    I actually did a fair bit of research myself into this a few months back, to answer a question on History.SE [stackexchange.com]. There is indeed a romantic notion of there being some undiscovered tomb with untold wealth in it. Then there's the reality:

    • The Mongols didn't bury their dead. They practiced Open-air "burials" [fu-berlin.de].

      Depositing the corpse in the steppe was meant to sacrifice it to predatory animals. According to Mongolians this is the last virtous act a person can carry out. This idea is much older than Lamaism and exhibits a really strong shamanistic element of spiritual thought.

    • All the assorted legends about where a supposed tomb might be came out of China (not Mongolia, where it happened) about 300 years after the fact, and describe things much closer to Chinese burial practices than Mongolian. In other words, they show all signs of being entirely made up.
    • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Monday November 18, 2013 @02:16PM (#45456687)
      While I'm inclined to agree and think you should be modded up, allow me to play devil's advocate on this. The Great Khan was exposed to a lot of other cultures in his conquests, and it's possible that he might have become enamoured with the more aggrandizing foreign cultural traditions related to death and burial. Alexander the Great certainly succumbed to a great deal of personal syncretism as a result of his exposure to foreign influences in his conquests. Not that this conjecture proves anything, but I think the possibility shouldn't be dismissed until everything has been fully explored.
      • That, and his followers may have decided that since he was such an important personage, that having random crows nibble him to nothingness wasn't all that great of an idea. Some faction of his followers had to take the reigns of command and they may have felt that having an interred burial ground more advantageous.

    • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Monday November 18, 2013 @02:47PM (#45456979)

      Just because someone at Fox News put "Noted Authority" on the Chiron under a TV guest doesn't mean they know what they are talking about.

      That's just wrong, Fox doesn't lie. Just look at this paragraph:

      Nichols now believes the Luipan Mountains that rise above the grasslands are the final resting place of the famed emperor, a short flight north of Hong Kong, near the Yellow River, off the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

      That's completely accurate. The site is only about 1,000 miles north of Hong Kong, which is about the same as the short flight from Miami to New York. And it's only about 575 miles from the Pacific Ocean, which is definitely "off the coast" of it. It's not "on the coast", right? So it must be off the coast.

  • So now Kirk yells, "Qa'aa'aa'aa'aa'aa'aa'aa'aa'aa'aa'an!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

  • Honest question: why the apostrophe in the name?
  • One theory is that the abominable snowman is Genghis Khan. They have never been seen together ever. Genghis Khan is immortal but to ensure his survival, he chooses to hide from humans including paparazzi. How did the creature become abominable anyway One is not born like that; it takes hard work.

    • Fun fact: While touring the snowcapped mountains of Asia, Ghengis Khan sprang forth fully formed from Chuck Norris's midriff; He was indeed born the abdominal snowman.

  • Let me get this straight. His hypothesis is that Khan is buried somewhere in the geographic region in which he died? And his next "phase" is just to pinpoint the location?

    This is a great way to solve problems! I'd like to hypothesize that P=NP can be proven using clever mathematical methods. I plan to do this next fall. My next phase is to pinpoint which mathematical methods to use.

  • 'I couldn't stop thinking about it. But I'm not happy just reading about it, or knowing about it. I need to have my feet on it.'

    I'd much rather stand within the Pleasure Dome / Decreed by Kubla Khan / To taste anew the fruits of life / The last immortal man...

  • Wait until they wake up The Great Khan's Mommie Werewolf Vampire Army.

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