AN ANCIENT decapitated skeleton buried in an kneeling position has been discovered in central China.
Archaeologists think it could be evidence of a particular sacrificial practice that is mentioned in Chinese scriptures.
The skeleton was found in the Chaizhuang archaeological site in Jiyuan, near China’s Henan province.
This is according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Previous excavations at the site have revealed houses, wells, stoves, roads, tombs and more.
They all date back to the Shang Dynasty, which ruled in China from around 1600 BC to 1046 BC.
Pottery, jewellery, seafood and even evidence of ancient fireworks has reportedly been found there.
Excavations have been occurring at the Chaizhuang site since 2019.
The recent sacrificial burial discovery was made by archaeologists from the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and the Jiyuan Municipal Cultural Relics Team.
The pit containing the decapitated victim is thought to be evidence of important social and spiritual customs during the Shang Dynasty.
The skeletons body was facing north with its arms folded in front and its hand clasped together.
It's in keeping with descriptions in ancient Chinese scriptures of sacrificed people being buried in an upright position.
An "oracle bone" found at a different Chinese site has ancient Chinese writing etched onto it that describes these practices.
A fragment of an oracle bone was also found at the Chaizhuang site and it contained a symbol thought to represent the practice of sacrificing people or livestock in pits.
The ancient script referring to a sacrifice is known as "Kan".
Liang Fawei, leader of the Chaizhuang site excavation project, told Xinhua that they found a "well-preserved human bone [that's] shaped like the oracle bone inscription of the character ‘Kan'."
However, despite scripture referring to upright burials, most sacrificed skeletons from this period have been found lying down.
This is why the new discovery is so important for piecing together ancient Chinese ritual practices.
The world's most gruesome ancient burials
Here's some of the most haunting archaeological discoveries ever made…
- Shackled skeletons: A mass grave in an ancient Greek cemetery was found to contain 80 skeletons all with their wrists clamped in iron shackles; archaeologists think they were victims of a mass execution but why this happened remains a mystery
- Mass child sacrifice: The remains of nearly 270 children sacrificed to the gods 500 years ago were recently found in a gruesome ancient mass grave in Peru
- Family massacre: Archaeologists recently discovered that a 5,000 year old mass grave site was the result of a tragic family massacre; the burial site in Poland contains the bodies of men, women and children who all had their skulls smashed to pieces
- Bog bodies: In 1950, experts found a bog body with a "face so fresh they could only suppose they had stumbled on a recent murder." The corpse, referred to as the Tollund man, is probably the most well-preserved body from pre-historic times in the whole world
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What do you make of this ritual skeleton discovery? Let us know in the comments…
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