|At an ancient site of human sacrifice in China, war captives may have been kept as slaves for years before they were killed, a new study finds. Prior work revealed a large number of ritual human sacrifices were conducted during the Shang dynasty, which spanned from the 16th century B.C. to the 11th century B.C. It is the earliest dynasty in China for which archaeologists have evidence. |
Scientists have estimated that over the course of about 200 years, more than 13,000 people were sacrificed, usually males ages 15 to 35. Oracle bone inscriptions from Yinxu had suggested that many sacrificial victims were captives from wars. Findings verified the accuracy of oracle bone inscriptions that claimed sacrificial victims came from outside Yinxu. The discoveries also reveal that sacrificial victims lived for at least a few years in Yinxu before being killed.