These three-thousand-year-old skeletal remains found in China suggest that human sacrifices suffered IS-style beheadings.
The gruesome incidents took place while victims were facing north and kneeling in a pit with their hands crossed in front of them and buried upright.
Archaeologists discovered the sacrificial pit near the city of Jiyuan in the central Chinese province of Henan.
The human remains were found in a kneeling position and the site dates back to the late Shang Dynasty (1600 BC to 1046 BC), according to local media.
Archaeologists have found a large number of tombs at the Chaizhuang site in Jiyuan shedding light on the ancient social and ritual customs of the time.
According to reports, the bone remains suggest that human sacrifices were beheaded while facing north and kneeling in the pit with their hands crossed in front of them, possibly to honour the gods or for the benefit of the ruler’s ancestors,
Head of the excavation project Liang Fawei said: “This well-preserved human bone is shaped like the oracle bone script of the character ‘Kan’.”
Liang said that studies on oracle bone inscriptions found in Yinxu, the site of one of the ancient and major historical capitals of China suggested that human sacrifices were prevalent during the Shang Dynasty.
Hieroglyphs such as ‘She’, ‘Shi’, ‘Tan’ and ‘Kan’ were reportedly used to describe sacrificial activities of different rituals.
‘Kan’, for example, depicts the method of offering sacrifices of humans or livestock in pits.
Oracle bone script, or ‘Jiaguwen’, is an ancient Chinese language found inscribed on tortoise shells and bones.
They are an early form of Chinese characters and the oldest fully-developed characters in the country, according to reports.
Experts believe that the method described as ‘Kan’ suggests sacrifices were buried in an upright position and this was the preferred burial of the time.
Over 6,000 square metres at the site have been excavated since 2019.
A survey found that the Chaizhuang site covers a total area of 300,000 square metres and contains house, wells, ash pits and roads.
Fireworks, pottery and jade artefacts have also been unearthed at the site.
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