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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Palace of Genghis Khan unearthed
Genghis Kahn
The exact site of Genghis Khan's grave has long puzzled researchers
Archaeologists have unearthed the mausoleum of 13th century Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan and say they believe his grave is nearby.

The exact site of his burial place, shrouded in myth, has perplexed archaeologists for centuries.

The Japanese and Mongolian research team say porcelain fragments and animal bones gave clues to the area.

Genghis Khan united warring tribes to become leader of the Mongols in 1206, founding a vast empire.

He conquered more territory that any other military leader in history.

Seeking the site

Archaeologists are thrilled at the thought that the discovery of the palace may lead them to the elusive ancient grave of the Mongolian warrior.

"According to various documents related to Genghis Khan, his grave is supposed to be located within a radius of 12 kilometres from the mausoleum," Noriyuki Shiraishi, assistant professor at Niigata University and head of the Japanese side of the 30-member team, told AFP news agency.

The foundations of a 13th century mausoleum belonging to Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan
Animal bones were found near the site

"We believe that with this finding, we have taken a step closer to locating his grave."

Earrings, bronze accessories as well as incense burners with dragon designs, thought to be the symbol of an emperor, were found at the site.

The research team, which began the project in 2001, also found the ashes and bones of horses and cows believed to have been used for a memorial service for the Mongol leader.

The actual burial site is swathed in secrecy. According to legend, in order to keep it secret, the huge burial party carrying the body of Genghis Khan killed anyone who saw them en route to the funeral.

The servants and soldiers who attended the funeral were then massacred.

Researchers say finding the grave would give a glimpse into the past.

"There had to have been a great deal of interaction between east and west at the time, in terms of culture and the exchange of goods," Shinpei Kato, professor emeritus at Tokyo's Kokugakuin University, told the Associated Press news agency.

"If we find what items were buried with him, we could write a new page for world history."

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Mongolia's cult of the great Khan
12 Aug 03 |  From Our Own Correspondent
The hunt for Genghis Khan
27 May 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Mongolia glorifies Genghis Khan
03 May 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Mongolia
09 Jul 03 |  Country profiles

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