Chinese archaeologists during excavations in Henan Province discovered a large number of tombs and sacrificial burials dating from the late reign of the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC).
According to China Daily, the find was made in the central part of the country. Many burials of the late Shang Dynasty were discovered during excavations at the Chaizhuang archaeological site in Jiyuan City.
The tombs of the upper class have yet to be studied in detail. But the researchers have already analyzed simpler burials, which indicate the existence of rather cruel funeral rites.
So, archaeologists unearthed a sacrificial pit, in which were the remains of man. He was buried on his knees with his arms crossed on his chest. This man was facing north. He was probably beheaded in the pit. His posture suggests that he was sacrificed, perhaps by his own consent.
It is possible that this man was a servant of a nobleman and, according to the beliefs of that period of time, voluntarily went to the afterlife to accompany his master. From written sources it is known that the practice of sacrificing people and animals in specially dug pits was quite common in ancient China.
In this case, next to the remains of the victim, scientists discovered several human bones, the so-called oracle bones, on which various signs were applied.
One of them shows the character “Kan”. It denoted a specific method of sacrifice: the sacrifice of people or livestock in pits. In addition, scholars know such hieroglyphs as “She”, “Shi” and “Tang”, which during the reign of the Shang dynasty were used to describe various sacrificial rituals.
The inscriptions on the bones of the oracle are known as Jiaguven. They are a form of ancient Chinese. Basically, such texts were applied on the shells of turtles and animal bones. They are a primitive form of Chinese characters. At the same time, these are the earliest fully formed hieroglyphs found in China.
Researchers note that previously in the sacrificial pits did not find the remains of people who were sacrificed on their knees. All these people were buried in a lying position. However, the use of the Kan character indicates that during the Shang dynasty, vertical burials were practiced very widely.
We add that during the excavations, archaeologists also discovered ancient pits with ash, roads, the remains of houses and a whole set of relics, including ceramics, stone, bone, shells and jade.