Archaeologists discover 5,000-year-old 'giant' skeletons in China

Published: July 6, 2017
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PHOTO: CHINA DAILY

PHOTO: CHINA DAILY

Archaeologists in Eastern China have found 5,000-year-old skeletons of people that experts have said would have been unusually tall and strong, according to China Daily.

According to the bone measurements in the grave and at the site in Shandong province, a collection of people who would have been measured at 1.8 metres or taller have been discovered. One man is estimated to have been 1.9m, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Although these measurements do not shock the 21st century Western standards, it has been believed that their height would have seen to tower over their contemporaries as the tallest individuals around.  “This is just based on bone structure. If he was a living person, his height would certainly exceed 1.9m,” Fang Hui, head of Shandong University’s school of history and culture, told the agency.

Shandong locals see their height as the definitive characteristic; a 2015 study found that the average height of 18 men is 1.753m, compared to the national average of 1.72m. The residents of Shandong are relatively taller people.

Confucius, who was born in what is now the Shandong province, was reportedly 1.9m tall.  The people living in the region 5,000 years ago are believed to have had relatively comfortable lives; the rows of houses that have been excavated suggested their living quarters had separate bedrooms and kitchens, according to China Daily.

The area is also believed to have been the political, cultural and economic centre of the Chinese region. Taller men were found buried in larger graves, which could be due to them having a higher status and having access to better food.

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Archaeologists found obvious damage to the head and leg bones of some of the bodies and to pottery and jade articles in six large tombs. The damage may have been done not long after the burials and may be due to power struggles among high-ranking people.

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