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L.I.S.A. Redaktion | 02/21/2011 | 4610 Views | 2 | Movies by the Gerda Henkel Foundation |

Xiongnu – the burial site of the Hun prince (Mongolia)

The tomb opens | Episode 7

Archäologen stoßen immer wieder auf das Problem, dass Grabräuber aus Verachtung für ihre Gegner oder auch einfach aus Geldgier Gräber schänden und ausplündern. Damit erschweren sie die Arbeit derer, die das Andenken an Völker wie die Hunnen bewahren und erforschen wollen. Auch der Bestattete von Xiongnu wurde von Grabräubern entfernt. Gerettet und untersucht werden können allerdings einige Reste des Sarges, außerdem werden nun besonders eifrig Skizzen angefertigt, um nachher das Grab rekonstruieren zu können.



Audio stream of the video

The Research Project
Xiongnu – the name denotes one of the most powerful tribal alliances of mounted nomads, who founded the first great nomad empire between the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, long before Genghis Khan. This was a state whose boundaries were only ever determined by the outcome of constant combat. Namely, its greatest foe was China or the Han Dynasty, which had ascended to become a great empire, prominently by means of battle with Asian Huns. A clear indicator of the power the Xiongnu tribal alliance must have wielded. But everything that we know about the Xiongnu, was documented by their enemy, the Chinese. The mounted nomads themselves did not know any scripture. So are these sources of information reliable? What counts as propaganda and what as the truth?

Russian archeologist Natalya Polosmak now wants to get to the bottom of things and reconstruct the world of the Xiongnu. Who were they? What was their familial and social structure like? Which religion did they belong to? Did they adhere to a social hierarchy? What role was played by women? How did the mounted nomads succeed in controlling the largest section of the Silk Road? Did they have contact to the West?

Natalya Polosmak has found a way to solve this puzzle: graves. But she does not excavate any graves; she examines the graves of Xiongnu rulers, which can be up to 18m deep. Due to the highly unique conservation conditions used in the graves, organic materials provide evidence, which otherwise would have simply decayed.

With this new evidence uncovered in the Xinognu graves, Natalya Polosmak together with her team has turned over a new leaf in the history of these Asian mounted nomads. The film documents their fascinating work.

Project leadership

Prof. Dr. Nataliya Polosmak


Noin-Ula (Mongolia)

Academic project managers
Prof. Dr. Natalya V. Polos'mak

Film project managers
Prof. Dr. Natalya V. Polos'mak

Editorial teams
Marina Anselm

Camera technicians
Dr. Evgeni S. Bogdanov

Editing technicians
Martin Pogac
Konstantin Sautier

Project assitants / Actors
Prof. Dr. Natalya V. Polos'mak
Dr. Evgeni S. Bogdanov
Ludmila Kundo
Valera Kovtorov

Film extras
Evgeni Govorkov
Prof. Dr. D. Zeweendorsch
Prof. Dr. H. Erdene-Otschir
Dr. H. Uruntugs
Natalja Sinizyna
Alexander Gorbunov

Overall planning teams
Gisela Graichen und Peter Prestel

All episodes
Cut off
Episode 1
Down into the tomb
Episode 2
Secrets of the master builders
Episode 3
Naadam – Festival of sports
Episode 4
The last meters
Episode 5
The burial chamber
Episode 6
The tomb opens
Episode 7
A treasure in clay
Episode 8
Farewell to the Hun tomb
Episode 9


by Dr. Lea-Katharina Steller | 25.12.2010 | 16:49
Sehr geehrte Frau Professorin,

ich gratuliere Ihnen zu Ihrer Forschungsarbeit, und warte schon auf die nächste Episode.

Dr. Lea-Katharina Steller
Budapest - Regensburg


by Dr. Baris Can | 20.06.2014 | 22:26
Dear Mrs. Polosmak;

Thanks a lot for the great discovery which took months of intense work.

I had a hard time to understand as it is in German, where can we see the foundings please?

Bodies from the kurgan were tortured in antique times?

Turkish nation highly appreciates your work.
Best Regards
Dr. Baris CAN

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