Ev­i­dence of an­cient hu­man sac­ri­fice found in S. Korea

New Straits Times - - World -

SEOUL: Ev­i­dence of hu­man sac­ri­fice to try to en­sure the suc­cess of an­cient con­struc­tion projects has been found for the first time at a South Korean site, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

Two skele­tons dat­ing from the 5th cen­tury were found un­der the walls of the Wolseong, or Moon Cas­tle, in Gyeongju in South Korea, the cap­i­tal of the for­mer Silla kingdom, Seoul’s Cul­tural Her­itage Ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

“This is the first ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence that folk­lore about hu­mans be­ing sac­ri­ficed for the foun­da­tions of build­ings, dams or walls were true sto­ries,” Choi Moon-Jung of the Gyeongju Na­tional Re­search In­sti­tute of Cul­tural Her­itage said.

The burial of liv­ing vic­tims with dead kings to serve them in the af­ter­life is well known in an­cient Korean cul­tures.

How the Wolseong vic­tims were put to death was not yet clear and fur­ther re­search was be­ing car­ried out, but they did not ap­pear to have been buried alive.

“Judg­ing from the fact that there are no signs of re­sis­tance when they were buried, they must have been buried when they were un­con­scious or dead,” said se­nior re­searcher Park Yoon-Jung.

“Folk­lore in­di­cates hu­mans were sac­ri­ficed to ap­pease gods and plead with them to en­sure the struc­tures be­ing built lasted a long time.”

The two skele­tons were found side by side un­der a west­ern cor­ner of the cas­tle’s earth and stone walls, with one fac­ing up­ward, the other turn­ing its face and arms slightly to­wards the first.

The Silla kingdom was one of three that emerged on the Korean penin­sula in the first mil­len­nium, even­tu­ally con­quer­ing the other two to unify the ter­ri­tory in 668.

It later split up and was fi­nally overwhelmed in 935.

Arte­facts from the pe­riod in­clude some of South Korea’s most pre­cious cul­tural trea­sures and the his­toric sites of Gyeongju are a ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion.

DNA and other tests were be­ing car­ried out on the re­mains to de­ter­mine their phys­i­cal characteristics, health, diet and ge­netic at­tributes. AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.