Sensation in Mongolia: shepherds accidentally found ancient vessels with blood

In Mongolia, administrative units are called not regions and states as in other countries, but aimags. For example, there is the Khuvsgel aimag, where 114 thousand people live. Recently, a very interesting scientific discovery was made there – two men who were erecting a new fence for a corral with horses accidentally unearthed ancient cauldrons. They handed them over to specialists from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, and scientists began to find out how ancient these artifacts were and what they could have been used for. Taking samples from the inside of the vessels, they were surprised to find that they were used to store huge amounts of blood. What does this mean: bloody rituals were carried out in ancient Mongolia? In fact, everything is not as scary as it might seem.

Sensation in Mongolia: shepherds accidentally found ancient vessels with blood. Vessels with traces of blood were found in the Mongolian steppe. Photo.

Vessels containing traces of blood were found in the Mongolian steppe


  • 1 Ancient cauldrons in Mongolia
  • 2 Study of ancient artifacts
  • 3 What did the ancient Mongols eat
  • 4 Archaeological finds in Mongolia

Ancient cauldrons in Mongolia

The editors of Science Alert spoke about the unexpected scientific discovery. Ancient vessels, accidentally discovered in the Mongolian steppe, have an average diameter of about 30 centimeters. They are made of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin that is rust-resistant and has antibacterial properties.

Ancient cauldrons in Mongolia. Two cauldrons and their schematic drawings. Source: Science Alert. Photo.

Two cauldrons and their schematic drawings. Source: Science Alert

Mongolian shepherds managed to unearth two cauldrons, as well as several other artifacts from ancient times. Typically, such finds are made in mounds – bulk hills under which burials are located. Finding ancient artifacts in the steppe is possible only by luck, which is what this case turned out to be.

Study of ancient artifacts

After receiving the finds in their own hands, scientists began to carefully study them. According to radiocarbon dating, the cauldrons were made approximately 2,750 years ago, during the Bronze Age. After determining the age, scientists took a smear from the inside of the vessels. To their surprise, particles of blood proteins and glycoprotein, a substance produced in the liver, were found in the vessels.

Study of ancient artifacts. Maned ram (Ammotragus lervia). Source: Photo.

Maned sheep (Ammotragus lervia). Source:

Further analysis showed that the ancient Mongols stored the blood of goats and maned rams in two of the vessels. The cauldrons also somehow contained substances found in the milk of wild yaks. The researchers suggested that these two vessels were used to collect the blood and milk of ruminants immediately after slaughter for meat.

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What the Ancient Mongols Ate

Blood was not used for sacrifice, like many other peoples. Most likely, the ancient Mongols used it to make blood sausage. This is a popular product in different countries, which in addition to blood contains meat, fat, various cereals and other ingredients. The benefits of black pudding are that it is rich in iron, protein, B vitamins, and minerals like zinc and selenium.

What did the ancient Mongols eat? Blood sausage is popular in many countries around the world. Source: Photo.

Blood sausage is popular in many countries around the world. Source:

There is a high probability that particles of the blood of ancient animals were preserved inside the vessels due to the fact that they were made of bronze. Like copper, the main component of this alloy, bronze has the property of destroying bacteria on its surface. The antibacterial properties of bronze are due to the fact that copper ions can destroy the cell membranes of bacteria and stop the metabolism in their bodies.

Needless to say, blood sausage was not a staple dish in Mongolian cuisine. But in general, their diet really consisted of meat products, as well as plant foods.

Read also: A bronze sword mistaken for a fake turned out to be a real weapon of ancient times

Archaeological finds in Mongolia

Mongolia is rich in archaeological finds dating back to the Bronze Age. Scientists usually discover and study numerous burial mounds and stone sculptures. For example, in the Umnogovi aimag alone, researchers have found more than 1,000 rock paintings. There are also many Deer Stones in Mongolia — ancient stone slabs with drawings. Most often, they depict deer, which is where the name of these artifacts comes from. They were usually installed in places of human burials and religious celebrations.

Archaeological finds in Mongolia. Deer stones in Mongolia. Source: Photo.

Deer stones in Mongolia. Source:

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Finally, here’s an interesting fact: part of the Great Wall of China is located on the territory of Mongolia. This 405-kilometer stretch of wall is also called the “Great Wall of Mongolia” and the “Mongolian Arc”. The height and width of this structure is constantly changing; it is very large-scale and complex. Scientists still cannot understand why it was built. You can read more about this architectural miracle in the article “The Great Wall of Mongolia is a 400-kilometer-long mystery.”