By M.P. Pellicer | Stranger Than Fiction Stories
In northwest China in tombs near Mogou village, archaeologists have found hundreds of graves that contain the remains of victims of human sacrifice. This cemetery dates back more than 4,000 years.
The excavation of the tombs took place between 2009 to 2011. The majority of them are believed to belong to the Qijia culture. Not only were there individual burials, but in some cases entire families were interred with their heads facing northwest.
Adjacent to the remains were small rooms containing pottery, as well as necklaces, bronze sabers, maces, axes daggers and knives.
There were other discoveries which indicated that human sacrifice had been performed. The victim was placed on its side with bent limbs and facing the entrance to the tomb. The bones were well-preserved, and belonged to a 13-year old.
The researchers are not sure why the Qijia sacrificed humans, but there more female victims.
One theory is they might be conquered people, who they used as slaves and sacrifice victims.
"Qijia culture sites are found in a broad area along all of the upper Yellow River as well as its tributaries, the Huangshui, Daxia, Wei, Tao and western Hanshui rivers," Chen Honghai, a professor at Northwestern University in China, wrote in a chapter of the book "A Companion to Chinese Archaeology" (Wiley, 2013).
Archaeologists also found evidence of rituals where human bones were used for divination which was widely practiced throughout China.
According to Herbert Plutschow from the University of California, oracle bones from animals and human sacrifices were used in China to "purify" a royal ancestor.
The deceased ancestor would have a choice of either an animal or human sacrifice, with men from the Ch'iang tribe, who raised sheep, as the preferred victim.
The question asked was: Should the purification before Tsu-ting be done with the sacrifice of three oxen pairs and ten men of Ch'iang?"
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer