Thursday, 25 December 2014

Grave from a Mongol noble Korguz from the Yuan Dynasty

From: The Royal Society   8 December 2014

Identification of kinship and occupant status in Mongolian noble burials of the Yuan Dynasty through a multidisciplinary approach



The Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271–1368) was the first dynasty in Chinese history where a minority ethnic group (Mongols) ruled. Few cemeteries containing Mongolian nobles have been found owing to their tradition of keeping burial grounds secret and their lack of historical records. Archaeological excavations at the Shuzhuanglou site in the Hebei province of China led to the discovery of 13 skeletons in six separate tombs. The style of the artefacts and burials indicate the cemetery occupants were Mongol nobles. However, the origin, relationships and status of the chief occupant (M1m) are unclear. To shed light on the identity of the principal occupant and resolve the kin relationships between individuals, a multidisciplinary approach was adopted, combining archaeological information, stable isotope data and molecular genetic data. Analysis of autosomal, mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal DNA show that some of the occupants were related. The available evidence strongly suggests that the principal occupant may have been the Mongol noble Korguz. Our study demonstrates the power of a multidisciplinary approach in elucidating information about the inhabitants of ancient historical sites.

No comments: