Kneeling burial of ancient human sacrifice found in Henan

Date:

Share post:

Archaeologists have discovered human bones in kneeling position in a sacrificial pit of ruins dating back to the late Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC) in central China’s Henan Province, which proves a glyph in oracle bone inscription of the burial.
Kneeling burial of ancient human sacrifice found in Henan
Skeleton in kneeling position unearthed from the Chaizhuang site in Jiyuan, central China’s Henan Province
[Credit: Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology/Xinhua]




In the excavation of the Chaizhuang site in Jiyuan, archaeologists found a large number of tombs of the late Shang Dynasty, providing evidence for the study of ancient social and ritual customs.

The bone remains found at the site suggest that the human sacrifice was beheaded, facing north and kneeling in the pit with his hands crossed in front of him.
Kneeling burial of ancient human sacrifice found in Henan
Stove unearthed from the Chaizhuang site in Jiyuan, central China’s Henan Province
[Credit: Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology/Xinhua]




“This well-preserved human bone is shaped like the oracle bone inscription of the character ‘Kan,'” said Liang Fawei, head of the Chaizhuang site excavation project.

Liang said according to the study on records of oracle bone inscriptions unearthed in Yin Ruins, sacrificial culture prevailed in the Shang Dynasty and hieroglyphs such as “She,” “Shi,” “Tan” and “Kan” were used to describe sacrificial activities of different rituals. Among them, the word “Kan” depicts the way of offering sacrifices of people or livestock in pits.
Kneeling burial of ancient human sacrifice found in Henan
Porcelain fragment unearthed from the Chaizhuang site in Jiyuan, central China’s Henan Province
[Credit: Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology/Xinhua]




Oracle bone inscriptions, or Jiaguwen, are an ancient Chinese language named for their inscriptions on tortoise shells and animal bones. They are a primitive form of Chinese characters and the oldest fully-developed characters in China.

Previously, the remains of human sacrifice discovered were mostly in a lying posture. Experts assumed that the sacrificial method recorded in the hieroglyph “Kan” suggests burial in an upright position, which must have been a more prevailing burial than that in a lying position.
Kneeling burial of ancient human sacrifice found in Henan
Carved bone fragment unearthed from the Chaizhuang site in Jiyuan, central China’s Henan Province
 [Credit: Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology/Xinhua]

Archaeologists from the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and the Jiyuan Municipal Cultural Relics Team have excavated 6,000 square meters of the site since 2019.

Their survey found the ancient Chaizhuang settlement covers 300,000 square meters. Semi-crypt-type houses, wells, ash pits, roads and fireworks have been found at the site, along with a trove of relics including pottery, stone, bone, mussel and jade artifacts. 

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

New data on the open air sanctuary of Zeus in Arcadia

The open air sanctuary of Zeus in Arcadia is a special place of worship. It is situated at...

2016 Polish excavations at Kato Paphos – Maloutena completed

The Cypriot Department of Antiquities announced the completion of the 2016 excavations of the Polish Archaeological Mission at...

‘Blind dates’ in the amber world

"Old" doesn't always have to mean "primitive": paleontologists at the University of Bonn have discovered a tiny biting...

Yemen’s ancient city of Sirwah in jeopardy

For the past six months a devastating war has been fought in Yemen between Houthi rebel fighters, who...

UK’s oldest human DNA obtained, revealing two distinct Palaeolithic populations

The first genetic data from Palaeolithic human individuals in the UK -- the oldest human DNA obtained from...

World’s oldest glue used from prehistoric times till the days of the Gauls

Birch bark tar, the oldest glue in the world, was in use for at least 50,000 years, from...

Ancient DNA sheds light on the origins of the Biblical Philistines

An international team, led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and...

Sotheby’s auctions clay figurines ‘from Amphipolis’

The interest around the ancient Greek tomb of Amphipolis may have decreased dramatically over the last months, however,...