Photos: Prehistoric Cemetery Discovered in China

A 4,000-year-old cemetery holding hundreds of tombs has been discovered in northwestern China. Some of the tombs held sacrificed humans, while others contained the bones of likely family members, along with weapons and other artifacts. Here's a look at the cemetery and archaeological findings. [Read full story on the prehistoric cemetery]

A cemetery dating back around 4,000 years has been discovered near Mogou village in northwestern China. Archaeologists have excavated hundreds of tombs containing burials of entire families. This image shows part of one tomb the archaeologists found. The skeleton is of an adult female who is facing toward the northwest. Much of her skeleton below the abdomen is destroyed. (Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics.)

In this tomb a small chamber filled with pottery was found beside the skeletons. (Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics.)

This pot, found in the tomb with the small chamber, contains o-shaped incisions that form an elaborate design. It is handmade and made of red clay. (Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics.)

Another pot, found in the same tomb, has two lines of o's encircling it. (Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics.)

Different artifacts were found in other tombs. This image shows animal bones that would have been used for divination – rituals aimed at trying to predict the future. (Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics.)

This ceramic vessel was found in another tomb and has two lines of o-shaped incisions near its narrow center. The lines encircle the vessel. (Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics.)

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Owen Jarus
Live Science Contributor

Owen Jarus is a regular contributor to Live Science who writes about archaeology and humans' past. He has also written for The Independent (UK), The Canadian Press (CP) and The Associated Press (AP), among others. Owen has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto and a journalism degree from Ryerson University.