Local herdsmen have uncovered a 1,500-year-old mummy wrapped in felt 2,803 metres up in the Mongolian Altai Mountains. After alerting experts from the Khovd Museum, the researchers conclude that this is the first complete Turkik burial discovered in Mongolia and Central Asia.

The mummy is believed to be a woman since there is no bow found in the tomb but the team asserts that the gender can only be confirmed once unwrapping is done. According to Khovd Museum’s researcher, B. Sukhbaatar, she was not from the elite class.

The researchers believe that the discovery will provide new insights about how native Turks lived in ancient Mongolia. Other findings include a bridle, saddle, clay vase, trough, iron kettle, wooden bowl, and pillows.


A curator prepares 550-year old Peruvian child mummy for a CT scan. Photo from Wikimedia/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samantha A. Lewis

The researchers also found a sheep’s head and felt travel bag at the back of a sheep, goat bones, small leather bag to hold a cup, the skeleton of a horse and four different Mongolian clothes also known as Dool. They say that the horse’s skeleton shows that it was sacrificed. The adult female horse must have been between four to eight years old.

“An interesting thing we found is that not only sheep wool was used, but also camel wool,” adds B. Sukhbaatar. “We can date the burial by the things we have found there, also the type of hat. It gives us a preliminary date of around the 6th century AD.”

Interestingly, many have pointed out that the mummy is wearing a pair of Adidas shoes. However, the research team did not mention anything about it but instead pointed out that this shows how people at the time were highly skilled at creating crafts and tools.

“The finds show us that these people were very skilled craftsmen,” says B. Sukhbaatar. “Given that this was the grave of a simple person, we understand that craft skills were rather well-developed.”