With the rock’s original dark polish chipped away, the fresh stone makes a pointed contrast, helping the petroglyphs to stand out — a sort of picture frame. Over the past 15 years, Richard Kortum, a professor of philosophy and humanities from East Tennessee State University, has catalogued roughly 12,000 petroglyphs here, in Mongolia’s Altai Tavan Bogd National Park.
He’s been determining their approximate age by correlating cultural clues with records of archaeology and paleoecology.
To resolve the chronology of events, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating was applied and from sedimentological and geochemical analysis the depositional processes could be characterised.
Quartz OSL dating of these sediments is hindered by feldspar contamination.
Wrestling is the most important of the Mongolian culture's historic "Three Manly Skills", that also include horsemanship and archery.
Genghis Khan considered wrestling to be an important way to keep his army in good physical shape and combat ready.
“It’s like piecing together a complex jigsaw puzzle,” Kortum says.
The oldest images are jagged and include deer and stick-figure humans.
Perhaps nowhere is the significance of horses more apparent than in the steppes of eastern Central Asia.One promising way to address these questions is through the osteological analysis of horse bones from archaeological sites.Unlike many other mammals, a horse’s teeth continue to erupt throughout the animal’s lifetime – a trait known as dentition.For nomadic herders living in the Mongolian countryside, horses are a critically important livestock animal, as well as the primary means of transportation.Meanwhile, in the urban capital of Ulaanbaatar, horses remain at the center of Mongolian culture and national identity.