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News: China
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Human bones and jadeware from 5,000 years ago found in a grave excavated at Jiaojia village in Zhangqiu District, Jinan City, capital of Shandong. Photo Credit: Asiawire/TANN.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Excavations in China yield evidence of unusually tall people

They lived about 5,000 years ago

Excavation findings in China yield graves of unusually tall people, along with various artefacts. In Shandong Province, east China, archaeologists have been excavating the ruins of 104 houses, 205 graves and 20 sacrificial pits at Jiaojia village, Zhangqiu District, Jinan City.

The bones found in some graves showed that at least one man was 1.9 metres tall, while some others were about 1.8 metres tall.

The relics were found in a late Neolithic civilization site, the Longshan Culture, in parts of the Yellow River. Fang Hui, head of Shandong University’s school of history and culture, said that people inhabiting the area at the time were exploiting agriculture, hence they had access to diverse and rich food resources, which probably changed their physique. Those who were of higher status could probably have better food. After all, Confucius, a native of the region, was said to have been about 1.9 metres tall. According to official statistics, an average 18-year-old man in Shandong will be about 1.75 metres tall, while the national average is at 1.72 metres.

The main crop was millet and pigs were also farmed, as is indicated by pig bones and teeth found in some of the graves.

The taller individuals were found in larger tombs. They probably led comfortable lives, as is indicated by the ruins of houses in the area. The houses were built in rows and had separate bedrooms and kitchens. Archaeologists also found ruins of ditches and clay embankments, a sign of development.

In the house ruins archaeologists found colourful pottery and jade items.

The site needs to be further excavated so that more light will be shed to the origin of culture in east China, according to Zhou Xiaobo, deputy head of Shandong provincial bureau of cultural heritage.

NOTES