Archaeologists in China Discover a 5,000-Year-Old 'Giant Grave'

Archaeologists in China Discover a 5,000-Year-Old ‘Giant Grave’

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In 2016, the bones of an abnormally tall group of individuals who lived approximately 5,000 years ago were discovered during an excavation of a late Neolithic hamlet in Jiaojia, a village in the Chinese province of Shandong. Given that the human species has never been taller than it is now, these ancient “giants” were unquestionably forerunners of the future.

2 Archaeologists in China Discover a 5000 Year Old Giant Grave
The tomb of a high-ranking individual, with pottery and other items

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Shandong University scholars were in charge of the excavation. According to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, they discovered a treasure mine of intriguing artifacts during an archaeological trip in Jiaojia, including the remnants of 104 dwellings, 205 burials, and 20 sacrifice pits. The site is a late Neolithic burial site from when the Longshan culture, often known as the “black pottery civilization,” lived in the Yellow River Valley. From roughly 3000 to 1900 BC, this set of Eneolithic civilizations existed here.

3 Archaeologists in China Discover a 5000 Year Old Giant Grave
The Yellow River basin is believed to be the place where the Chinese ethno was formed and developed.

It is worth noting that research of skeletons discovered during excavations reveals that the ancients were unusually tall – several of them stood more than 180 cm tall. So yet, archaeologists have not stated how many remains have been discovered or what gender they are. The tallest male they discovered, however, was determined to be roughly 192 cm tall. The residents of this town appeared to their neighbors to be true giants. According to previous research, average Neolithic men were around 167 cm tall and women stood about 155.

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4 Archaeologists in China Discover a 5000 Year Old Giant Grave
Ceramics and jade items were found on the site

According to the experts, such an exceptional height was most likely the product of genetic and environmental effects. In reality, height is still the defining feature of individuals in Shandong today. According to 2015 statistics, the average height of 18-year-old men in the region is 179 centimeters, which is 5 cm higher than the national average.

5 Archaeologists in China Discover a 5000 Year Old Giant Grave
One of the exceptionally tall skeletons uncovered by archaeologists

Fang Hui, one of the excavation leaders

According to (Head of the School of History and Culture at Shandong University), the Neolithic civilisation discovered at the conclusion of the era was involved in agriculture, which meant that citizens had access to a range of healthful and nutritious meals. Corn was the most commonly farmed crop, and pigs were a major element of animal husbandry. According to Hui, the ancient Chinese’s physical proportions, including height, were impacted by their consistent diet.

Interestingly, the tallest Longshan culture individuals were discovered in graves, which researchers ascribe to dwellers with a higher social rank, implying they could eat even better than others.

6 Archaeologists in China Discover a 5000 Year Old Giant Grave
The excavation site

Perhaps the neighbors of this town did not have as many items and a healthy diet, and the environmental circumstances were harsher, contributing to their low height. By the way, the Maya of Central America were among the tiniest prehistoric peoples: the typical male grew to 158 cm, while the average woman grew to 146.

However, altitude as a favourable genetic feature is believed to have existed long before the Neolithic age and the Longshan people. This is supported by a recent research conducted by Czech experts (Masaryk University). Height genes were discovered among the Gravettian civilization. These Late Paleolithic Europeans lived 50,000 to 10,000 years ago and hunted mammoths, which may have contributed to their size. The tallest representatives stood at 182 centimeters.

Czech academics’ assumptions are mainly consistent with those of Chinese archaeologists. As the principal author of a Gravetian cultural essay, Pavel Grassgruber, puts it:

However, it is hard to state definitively why some people are short and others are tall. Many variables influence human growth, including environment, genetics, and numerous disorders. Because there are so many factors, the topic of scientific advancement still has numerous blind spots.

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