23 Xiongnu empire tombs uncovered in Ulaanbaatar
Recently, the tombs of 23 people who lived 2000 years ago, during the Xiongnu Empire (or Khunnu Empire), were found at Odont 23 Street of Zuunsalaa in Bayankhoshuu, Ulaanbaatar. Students from the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST) were conducting field research with their teacher when they noticed the shape of some rocks which they believed could be a tomb. Area residents were unaware of the ancient burial site.
The tombs belonged to ordinary citizens of Xiongnu. Though, to the untrained eye, the site may look just like land with a lot of rocks, it is home to numerous rare artifacts. Many items connected to ancient burial customs are being recovered, including a piece of a bronze mirror with hanzi, an enameled bowl, crops in a corkwood container, as well as iron, bone and cloth items.
There are 23 known tombs at the site and experts have excavated three of them and resealed two. Eight tombs are located along a publicly used part of the road and will eventually be excavated and researched, however, other tombs located on private property will not be studied now.
The excavation work is underway with the financial backing of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism (MCST) of Mongolia. Minister of MCST, Ts.Oyungerel, visited the excavation site and met archeologists working on the tombs.
During the visit, Unuudur newspaper’s J.Selenge spoke with PhD and Professor of MUST, L.Erdenebold, about the tombs.
-How did your students find the tombs and start the excavation?
-It hasn’t been long since MUST acquired a permit to conduct archeological research. We had started researching places that might be home to archeological artifacts within Ulaanbaatar before ger district redevelopment projects and road construction take place, which might damage such artifacts. Therefore, we reported the tombs to MCST right away, as they were located in a crowded area along a public road.
-How did you recognize the Xiongnu era tombs?
-Professional researchers are able to recognize them. Xiongnu tomb structure enables us to do so.
-You acknowledge that the tombs are of ordinary citizens. Would it have been more significant if the tombs were of aristocrats, or ruins of an ancient city or settlement?
-Yes, but we are finding many artifacts and items specifically used for burials of ordinary citizens of the Xiongnu times. They will be transferred to state museums after recovery work is complete.
Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=6151