Archaeologists in China have discovered the remains of a Bronze Age walled city that likely served as a political and cultural center. The find surprised the pits in which 120 sacrificed horses were buried.
The ancient city of Yaoheyuan was located at the foot of the Liupan Mountains in northwestern China, Live Science writes. According to a study published Aug. 3 in the journal Antiquity, it was once a cultural and political center that held an important place during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1045-771 BC).
Although there are other Bronze Age sites in this part of the country, archaeologists believe that Yaoheyuan was the regional center of that time. This is indicated by the scale and variety of buildings discovered during excavations.
Scientists note that human and animal sacrifices were a common practice in this city. This is indicated by the large number of tombs containing the bones of horses, oxen, goats, sheep, chickens, dogs and rabbits, buried next to people.
|Photo: Kai Bai/Antiquity Publications Ltd.|
Among other things, the researchers discovered six sacrificial pits in which the remains of horses were stacked in layers. Some skeletons are broken into segments. This may indicate that the animals were probably dismembered before burial. In total, archaeologists found the skeletons of 120 horses, including several foals.
“The sacrificial burials indicate the wealth and status of the Yaoheyuan state, but also confirm the presence of horses in the region. They were one of the most important resources in northwest China during the Western Zhou period.” – write the authors of the study.
Archaeologists also discovered numerous artifacts scattered throughout the city: ceramic molds, jade and stone objects, lacquerware, celadon vessels, and bones engraved with various symbols similar to Chinese characters.
Iryna Batiuk, “UP. Life”
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