- Skeleton was found at Wolseong Palace four years after the remains of a man and woman were discovered
- None of the bodies showed signs of conflict and all were buried facing the sky with pottery and other artefacts around them
- Initially, the researchers said that the couple’s death may have been accidental but ‘there is no denying Silla’s practice of human sacrifice’ with a third body.
- The latest remains date to the 4th century and may be a ‘groundbreaking sacrifice’ made before the castle was finished to be sure.
The discovery of skeletal remains on the floor of an ancient temple in South Korea lends further credence to legends that the Silla Kingdom performed rituals of human sacrifice.
The body of a young woman in her twenties was found under the western walls of the Wolseong Palace site in Gyeongju, South Korea, which was constructed in the 4th century.
She was found less than two feet from the remains of a man and woman discovered at the site in 2017.
Initially, researchers believed that the couple’s death may have been accidental, but with the discovery of a third body ‘the Silla practice of human sacrifice cannot be ruled out,’ said Soongsil University, who led the excavations. Archaeologist Choi Byung-heen said in a statement. .
Cho said the maiden’s burial dates back to the 4th century—the same era when the palace was built—and that her murder may have been part of a foundation sacrifice to ensure that the building remained strong for years to come.
“After finishing the foundation and moving on to the next phase of building the fort, I think it was really necessary to harden the ground to make the fort stronger,” Choi said in a statement.
‘In that process, I think the Silla people sacrificed not only animals but humans as well.’
scroll down for video
The body of the young woman, in her twenties, was found less than two feet from the remains of a male and female in her 50s, who were buried 100 years later
Wolseong, which translates to ‘Moon Castle’, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is listed as a Historic Site of Korea No. 16.
The discovery of two original bodies there in 2017 made headlines across Korea, where ancient human sacrifices during large-scale construction projects have long been considered ‘a sinister myth’. Korea Jongang Daily.
But because neither body showed signs of conflict and animal bones and objects used for ancestral rites were located nearby, the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea concluded that the couple died as part of a sacrificial ceremony. Had happened.
The young woman’s skeleton was originally found in April, but because it was just four and a half feet tall, archaeologists initially thought it was that of a child.
Two skeletons (pictured) were previously found in the palace in 2017, but experts believed the death of the heir may have been accidental. Now with another body surrounded by similar artifacts, ‘there is no denying Silla’s practice of human sacrifice’, said Choi Byung-heen, an archaeologist at Soongsil University.
The remains of an adult female from the 4th century were found at the site of Wolseong Palace, a fortress capital of the Silla Kingdom, in Gyeongju, Korea. Near his body were intact earthenware vessels that may have contained wine.
Gyeongju, about 175 miles from Seoul, was the capital of the Kingdom of Silla, which controlled most of the Korean peninsula from 57 BC to AD 935.
“The first thing we do when we find human remains is gender and age,” said Kim Heen-seok, a researcher at the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage.
‘Although her remains were also in good condition, her pelvis, which we use to determine gender, was damaged, so we had to look at other things like her physique and height to find out.
Eventually, isotope analysis of her teeth determined that she was an adult suffering from chronic malnutrition that stunted her growth, an indication that she was of lower social status.
An intact vessel was found near his head, with X-ray analysis indicating that there was another smaller vessel inside.
X-ray analysis of an intact vessel found near the latest body indicated that there was another smaller vessel inside it. Similar pottery was found at the 2017 site, researchers say, although it is ‘not a common feature you see in ancient tombs’ among Silla
Who was Sila? The culture of the Korean Empire is still visible 1500 years after the fall of the dynasty
The ancient Silla Kingdom ruled part of the Korean peninsula from 57 BC to AD 935, making it one of the longest-reigning imperial dynasties.
Many of Korea’s modern-day cultural practices stem from this historical culture.
Participants in traditional costumes at a Silla festival in Gyeongju, South Korea
Despite his long reign, the number of Silla burials with intact skeletons remained few and far between.
However, in 2013, researchers had a lucky break when excavating a tomb near Gyeongju, the historical capital of the Kingdom of Silla.
Inside a traditional burial coffin, called a ‘mokgwakamy’, were the almost completely intact bones of a woman who died in her late 30s.
Researcher Jang Ki-myong of the institute said, ‘It seems that the large pottery has alcohol or some kind of liquid. ‘It was buried with the body. This is not a common feature that you see in ancient tombs, but something similar was found at the site in 2017.’
And like earlier bodies, there were no signs of struggle in the skeleton of the young woman.
Also, all three were buried on top of the lower layer of the western wall of the palace facing the sky, right in front of where there would have been a gate.
The couple, found in 2017, appeared to be in their 50s, but they died (or were killed) after the female was younger – probably sometime in the fifth century.
There is evidence of human sacrifice in China to ensure success and sustainability in construction, especially during construction…