Mongolia’s Deer Stones

Our guest Yi-Hsin joined us in February this year for one of our Mongolia winter tours. The focus of the trip was the Ice Festival  held over 2 days at Lake Khovsgol in northern Mongolia.  In winter the lake freezes over and forms the venue outside the small community of Khatgal. Held to promote tourism outside of the main tourist season events include ice sculpting, ice sumo, ice ankle bone shooting and horse sled races.

En-route they stopped at Ushigiin Uver just outside the provincial capital of Khovsgol Aimag (Murun).

Ushigiin Uver are some of the most clear and striking examples of stylized Bronze Age deer stones (known as  Bugan Khoshoo in Mongolian), and are surrounded by a number Turkic burial mounds.

Deer stones that are mainly found in central and western Mongolia. Carved into the stelae are beautiful stylised images of deer, the sun and moon. These ancient stone markers are believed to be either ancient grave markers for warrior chiefs or a ceremonial offering. They are not believed to be burial mounds and why they were created and what role they played in ancient nomadic cultures are just two of the many puzzles in Mongolian archaeology.