Human history is full of enigmas and fascinating discoveries that challenge our understanding of past cultures and civilizations. One of these mysteries was recently revealed in the province of Jilin, located in northeast China.
This is the discovery of a set of elongated skulls, intriguing relics that have intrigued archaeologists and have generated a series of theories about its origin and meaning.
Discovery of elongated skulls in China
During a 2019 archaeological dig in northeast China’s Jilin province, researchers from Jilin University’s School of Archeology and Texas A&M University in Dallas were surprised to find a set of “anomalities” in 25 ancient skeletons.
11 of the skulls were elongated, or as the experts call it, they had intentional cranial modification (ICM). This means that during their lifetime, the person was subjected to techniques that molded the shape of their skull to give it an elongated appearance.
The skulls presented a particular elongation in the occipital region, which clearly differentiates them from conventional human skulls.
Archaeologists estimate that they date back more than 12,000 years and they belonged to a prehistoric culture that populated the region.
Skulls of 8-year-old children compared: the one on the left, unmodified, and the one on the right, elongated. Credit: American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
Of the 11 individuals with artificial modifications, there were four men, one woman, and six children; all were between 3 and 40 years old. The other people were distributed in two different layers of sediment, indicating that this could be a culturally selective behavior in this populationas archaeologists explain.
Additionally, some of the graves, such as that of the three-year-old boy and the adult woman, were decorated with opulent objects, which generally serves as an indicator of people of high status and reinforces the theory of archaeologists on the selectivity of the practice of lengthening of skulls, which was only applied to certain elite individuals. A selectivity that was also similar in some South American cultures.
“The downside of researching the origin, spread, and meanings of this intriguing tradition is the lack of early materials for scholarly examination,” the experts write in their paper. investigation.
Interpretations and theories
The discovery of these skulls sparked heated debate among experts. There are several theories that try to explain the reason for the intentional deformation of the skulls. Some suggest that it is a form of tribal identification or social status, where cranial deformities could have been deliberately made from childhood to distinguish certain individuals.
Another theory proposes that the cranial modification could have been associated with religious or spiritual beliefs. Some ancient cultures believed that the head was the “seat of the soul” and that changing its shape could have had symbolic or ritual significance.
While another group of people theorizes that intelligent beings who came to Earth from other worlds had this shape on their heads. Later, the locals deformed their heads to look like them. Perhaps they thought that having elongated heads would give them exceptional talents, such as communicating with higher powers or beings from other planes.
A cultural enigma across the world
The existence of elongated skulls has been found in different parts of the world, including South America, Egypt, Europe and Africa, where some tribes continue to implement this practice.
Elongated skulls. Courtesy: humans are free
These findings have led to speculation about the possible connection between these distant ancient cultures. Some researchers suggest that there may have been a transoceanic link or a cultural diffusion of techniques and beliefs Throughout history. This theory is still under debate and needs more scientific evidence and analysis.
Historical and archaeological significance of the find
The discovery of elongated skulls in Jilin Province sheds light on an ancient and little-known civilization that inhabited the area millennia ago.
These skulls allow us to glimpse aspects of their culture and practices, providing valuable insight into the diversity and complexity of prehistoric societies in China. Moreover, the detailed study of these skulls could help to better understand the techniques used to perform the deformations and their cultural significance.
11 of the individuals found in Jilin had elongated skulls. Credit: American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
THE elongated skulls found in Jilin province, they represent a fascinating enigma that continues to challenge our understanding of ancient civilizations. These unique relics give us the opportunity to explore and learn about an ancient culture and its legacy.
You might also be interested in: Ancient elongated skull with pyrite encrustations in the teeth found at Teotihuacán.
Additionally, cranial modifications are said to have had their beginnings around 9,000 years ago across the planet. This discovery in China extends this period by almost three thousand years.
As archaeologists continue to investigate this discovery, new clues and revelations may emerge that will help us unlock the secrets of these elongated skulls and the millennial history of mankind.
References: BBC / Uno TV / La Vanguardia.
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