A team of Japanese and Mongolian archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 13th century military outpost thought to belong to Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan.

As reported in The Asahi Shimbun, the discovery is shedding light on the Mongol Empire's strategy on western expansion and trade routes between the 13th and 14th centuries:

The researchers surveyed ruins about 880 kilometers west of Ulan Bator in 2001 and found that geographical features around them were similar to the landscape depicted in a travel book written by a medieval Chinese Taoism leader.

The researchers also unearthed pieces of Chinese ceramics dating to the 13th century. An aerial photograph taken in 2001 shows the remains of a fortress surrounded by a soil wall, measuring 200 meters by 200 meters.

Last summer, the archaeologists used carbon dating to determine the age of unearthed wood chips and animal bones found at the site. The analysis showed the wood pieces were from the 12th to 13th century, while the bones were estimated to date to the 14th century.

The archaeologists say the items belonged to a castle used as a military base when Genghis Khan was leading his historic invasions of Central Asia. The fortress was commissioned by a close aide to Genghis in 1212. Prior to this discovery and analysis, researchers pointed to other areas as the potential site of the former castle. This discovery may serve as the final confirmation needed.

[ h/t The Archaeology News Network ]

Image: Japanese-Mongolian Joint Research Team