A biodistance study of Shang Dynasty human sacrifice

Author(s): Tommy Budd

Year: 2017


Ongoing archaeological investigations at the Shang capital of Yin Xu in modern Anyang have contributed much to the understanding of the Shang Dynasty (~1600-1046 BCE) and Bronze Age China. Bioarchaeological investigations of the thousands of sacrificed individuals recovered from the royal cemetery at Yin Xu has historically been somewhat limited, but is becoming an important component of current research at the site. Earlier work focused mainly on collection of craniometric data and the typology of collections. While bioarchaeology has moved away from typology and toward a more nuanced and contextualized understanding of population structure and history, the craniometric data collected and published with these earlier studies remain a valuable resource. This project uses this data to explore the structure and history of a sample of the population of sacrificed individuals at the site of Yin Xu using a biodistance approach. The structure and microevolutionary history of the sample are investigated in order to contribute to the understanding of the practice of human sacrifice by the Shang and the relationships between the Shang and those sacrificed.

Cite this Record

A biodistance study of Shang Dynasty human sacrifice. Tommy Budd. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430340)

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Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17368