Freelance journalist Robin Ackroyd claims to have found the long-lost tomb of 13th century Mongol leader Genghis Khan.
The revelation is included in his new book Genghis: Sacred Tomb, Secret Treasure.
He believes the secret tomb is located high on a mountain in northerly Mongolia and is also the last resting place of his grandson Khubilai, the Yuan dynasty ruler of China.
Ackroyd completed a 700km horseback expedition, lived among nomads and travelled into a wilderness known as the Great Forbidden Sanctuary to research his book.
He concludes that, although the international conqueror died in northern China in August 1227, he was brought back to Mongolia for burial.
Ackroyd, who won a celebrated protection of sources battle in 2007, said: “It is likely that the early Mongol khans were buried with grave-goods, perhaps of great value, to see them into the afterlife.
“The area was guarded by a tribe called the Uriankhai. They were exempt from taxes and military service.
“The guarding of the imperial grave site undermines the folkloric suggestion that the soldiers who witnessed the funeral were executed.
After translating ancient Mongol texts, and his own on the ground research, Ackroyd concluded that previous theories about the last resting place of the early Mongol chief are wrong. Ackroyd says his theory has now been accepted by the Mongol government.
He said: “Height mattered to the Mongols. Mountains brought the Mongols physically, and spiritually, closer to the Eternal Blue Heaven that they worshipped.
“The best evidence firmly points to the Mongol khans, and others regarded as being of noble position, being traditionally buried on mountain heights.
“These mountains were in areas set aside as inviolable sanctuaries – either in their native territories, or in their appointed realms.
“Genghis Khan was repatriated in death. He was not buried in the Ordos region of China. His famous mausoleum is merely a memorial.”