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The Taller They Are: Ancient Chinese Secret Tomb Reveals Giant Skeletons

CC0 / Pixabay / Skull
Skull - Sputnik International
Archeologists in China's Shandong province have unearthed the skeletal remains of human giants, members of an ancient culture called the Longshan who resided in the region during the late Neolithic period, around 5,000 years ago. Moreover, the discovery offers invaluable insights into the origins of culture in ancient China.

The province, which lies in the country's east, has been subject to extensive excavation by archaeologists since 2016. As of June 2016, the ruins of 104 houses, 205 graves and 20 sacrificial pits have been identified.

In the Neolithic period, the area is believed to have been a political, economic and cultural center.

​In one uncovered tomb, researchers made a shock discovery — a host of notably large, tough skeletons, all grouped together.

The tallest skeleton was 1.9 meters (6ft 3in) in height, the others 1.8 meters or so. In modern terms, particularly in the Western world, such statures are hardly newsworthy — although considering the average height in modern China is a comparatively paltry 1.67 meters (5ft 6in), and average height for a European in the late neolithic era was 1.65 meters, these ancient humans would likely have been the tallest in the room anywhere in the world when they lived.

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​Moreover, the researchers believe their grouping in a dedicated tomb suggests their height granted them special status within their community — this ethos persists to the present day in Shandong, home to China's tallest individuals, who see their loftiness as their defining characteristic.

The average height in the region is 1.753 meters, much higher than the national average.

Famed ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, indigenous to the province, was reportedly 1.9 meters tall. 

​Still, revered these ancient giants may have been, but their tallness was not an entirely positive blessing — many of the bones exhibited severe damage.

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Perhaps the injuries stemmed from violent power struggles between the behemoths, or simply from living in a world not designed and structured for people of their standing — a predicament modern day behemoths who travel via Ryanair know all too well.

Elsewhere, discoveries of ruined houses in the area indicate residents lived quite comfortable lives, with separate bedrooms and kitchens — colorful pottery and jade articles have also been found.

The discovery of the ruins helps fill a historical blank in the region, from 5,000 to 4,500 years ago, and show it in a phase of transition — and with the excavation site covering a square kilometer, of which a mere 2,000 square meters have been fully excavated, further study of the site will undoubted offer yet more stunning insights into the origin of culture in east China.

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