Posts Tagged ‘Hamblin Ovoo’

SI Research Notes: Bronze Age Burials of Mongolia

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Linda Stevens is Field Notes Coordinator for Smithsonian Journeys. Combing the Institution for interesting projects happening around the world, she prepares these research notes especially for travelers. Learn more about Linda here.

This typical Bronze Age mound contains the remains of a newborn infant, only. The burial site consists of a central pile of rocks covering the burial chamber and a circular stone fence. Photo: Bruno Frolich, NMNH

This typical Bronze Age mound contains the remains of a newborn infant, only. The burial site consists of a central pile of rocks covering the burial chamber and a circular stone fence. Photo: Bruno Frohlich, NMNH

Since 2003 physical anthropologist Bruno Frohlich has led a team of international scientists on a National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Department of Anthropology survey and excavation of Bronze Age burial mounds (3500 to 2700 B.P.) in the steppe environment of Hovsgol Aimag of Mongolia. Of the 2,000 mounds the research team has recorded and surveyed, they have excavated 35, and in summer 2008, the team uncovered seven additional burial mounds.

During the 2003 field season in Mongolia, researchers were also made aware of a newly discovered mass burial within the Buddhist Gandan Monastery in Ulaanbaatar (Hambiin Ovoo). About 1,200 bodies, all of Buddhist monks, had been removed for cremation, which took place under the direction of Lam Purevbat, who kept about 80 skulls and some femora as physical evidence. Apparently most of the victims were executed by the Soviet regime in the years leading up to World War II. (more…)