Washington, October 18 : Scientists are using advanced visualization technologies to find the hidden tomb of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol empire.
According to legend, Genghis Khan lies buried somewhere beneath the dusty steppe of Northeastern Mongolia, entombed in a very secretive spot.
Once he was below ground, his men brought in horses to trample evidence of his grave, and just to be absolutely sure he would never be found, they diverted a river to flow over their leader's final resting place.
What Khan and his followers couldn't have envisioned was that nearly 800 years after his death, scientists at UC (University of California) San Diego's Center for Interdisciplinary Science in Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) would try to locate his tomb using advanced visualization technologies, whose origins can be traced back to the time of the Mongolian emperor himself.
"As outrageous as it might sound, we're looking for the tomb of Genghis Khan," Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin, an affiliated researcher for CISA3, told Science News.
"There are few clues and no factual evidence about Genghis Khan's burial, which is why we need to start using technology to solve this mystery," he added.
Lin and several colleagues are hoping to use advanced visualization and analytical technologies available at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) to pinpoint Khan's tomb and conduct a non-invasive archaeological analysis of the area where he is believed to be buried.
Lin's hope for success is based on his access to unparalleled technology at Calit2 and CISA3 to pinpoint the area where Khan might have been laid to rest, find the tomb itself and then develop a virtual recreation of it using various methods of spectral and digital imaging.
According to Lin, "If you have a large burial, that's going to have an impact on the landscape. To find Khan's tomb, we'll be using remote sensing techniques and satellite imagery to take digital pictures of the ground in the surrounding region, which we'll be able to display on Calit2's 287-million pixel HIPerSpace display wall."
"Once we've narrowed down this region in Mongolia to a certain area, we'll use techniques such as ground penetrating radar, electromagnetic induction and magnetometry to produce non-destructive, non-invasive surveys," said Lin.
"We'll then work with people in UCSD's electrical engineering department to develop visual algorithms that will allow us to create a high-resolution, 3-D representation of the site," he added.
Lin said that he's hoping to collaborate with the Mongolian government and national universities for the project.