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Egiin Gol Project Field Work Gol Mod Project


Circular Xiongnu tomb, Egiin Gol cemetery

The Xiongnu cemetery at Egiin Gol, which contains approximately one hundred tombs, is located 175 kilometers from the necropolis of Gol Mod in a landscape of wooded steppe, characteristic of northern Mongolia. Nearby larch forests could, at that time, have been used in the construction of monuments. The average altitude is 885 meters, and the soil consists of sandy sediment mixed with clay and schist.

Between 1995 and 1999, the Expedition excavated a total of eighty-nine tombs, including thirty that were subjected to Carbon-14 dating. The oldest tombs date to the third century BC, and the most recent from the second century AD, indicating that the site was in use for at least five centuries. Most of the tombs have a north-south orientation, as north was considered to be a direction of good fortune. The tombs are simple, identified from the outside by a roughly circular ring of stone. They are between 2 and 3.5 meters deep. The funerary space consists of four areas: a northern trench for holding animal remains, a chest of offerings that is the extension of a chamber in which the coffin is placed. Nearly all of the tombs of men contain animal remains, particularly those of horses, as well as bits, arrowheads, bows, ceramics and sometimes parts of headdresses. A recent study attempted to establish familial connections between the deceased in these cemeteries.

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