RESEARCHERS have unearthed a 3,000-year-old tomb of a wealthy clan in China and found the remains of warriors and warhorses that appear to have been sacrificed at their funerals.
At the site, researchers unearthed several pits that held war chariots, the remains of horses that drew them and the remains of warriors.
According to a statement from the government’s Xinhua news agency, some of the warriors were found wearing hats decorated with strings of shells when they died.
Meanwhile, the foreheads of some of the horses were decorated with a gold veneer and a bronze backing.
Kong Deming, the director of the city’s Institute of cultural relics and archaeology said: “This is very rare among the ancient discoveries of Anyang, reflecting the extraordinary status and power of the chariot owner.”
A study from Penn State University noted that: “Large-scale, systematic human sacrifice functioned as important political and religious spectacles in Shang dynasty.”
Most of what historians know about this dynasty came from written carvings predominantly in the form of oracle bone script.
These bones, used during state divination ceremonies by priest-kings, contain scripts specifically concerning human sacrifice.
It was also common for personal slaves and servants of the Shang king to commit ritual suicide or to “volunteer” themselves to be buried alive alongside their master, upon their Master’s death.
This practice was common in the Shang dynasty