Chasing Ancient Mysteries
- Albert Yu-Min Lin, Research Scientist
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Albert Lin is as comfortable on horseback as he is in the laboratory—and he’s made important discoveries from both settings. An expert in merging remote exploration with citizen science, he’s harnessed both the latest advances in digital technology and the power of crowds to find innovative solutions to mysteries both ancient and modern.
In Mongolia, where tradition forbids the physical excavation of burial sites, Lin has been searching for one of archaeology’s Holy Grails: the long-lost tomb of conqueror Genghis Khan. Because tradition forbids opening Genghis’ tomb, Lin devised non-invasive methods for investigating possible sites. And he invited the world to join the search: over 28,000 people participated by searching satellite images for signs of ancient structures. Then Albert and his team saddled up (literally as well as figuratively) to ground-truth the leads in Mongolia. As documented in a National Geographic Television special, Forbidden Tomb of Genghis Khan, his team discovered tantalizing evidence of the tomb’s location in a remote mountain range traditionally associated with Genghis’ resting place.
Other projects to which Albert has applied his unique approach sought a digital solution include a search for new Maya sites in Guatemala, and a crowd-sourced search for a recently downed Malaysian jetliner. Join this boldly imaginative young explorer as he reports on his latest findings in Mongolia and elsewhere—and discover how technology is opening up new frontiers for exploration.
Lin is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and currently heads a major international effort known as the Valley of the Khans Project, a noninvasive technology based search for the tomb of Genghis Khan.
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