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2500-year-old human remains excavated during rail construction in Taiwan

Remains found in Chiayi belong to Taidoukeng Culture Site, date back to Neolithic period

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Two sets of human remains estimated to be 2,500 years old have been excavated in Chiayi City.

Two sets of human remains estimated to be 2,500 years old have been excavated in Chiayi City. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two sets of human remains unearthed in February of this year during a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) elevation construction in Chiayi City have been excavated and sent to Tainan’s Museum of Archaeology, CNA reported on Tuesday (Sept. 7).

The Railway Bureau (RB) told CNA it was aware of the existence of the Taidoukeng Culture Site (臺斗坑文化遺址) and that the excavation had been part of the TRA’s construction plan from the beginning. As relevant parties continue with the archaeological excavation, the construction will continue as normal.

According to CNA, the two human skeletons unearthed include a middle-aged man and woman, both lying face down with arms resting on their backs. They are presumed to share a familial relationship.

While the remains are mostly intact, one skull was broken due to recent torrential rains, reported UDN.

2500-year-old human remains excavated during rail construction in Taiwan

Three pits have been excavated at the Taidoukeng Site. One contains the two excavated skeletons, while the other two contain pottery and another skeleton.

Yen Ting-yu (顏廷伃), who received a PhD from National Taiwan University’s Department of Anthropology and is responsible for the excavation, estimated that the two skeletons date back to the Neolithic period, 2,500 years ago. This site marks a breakthrough in archeology for the Chiayi region, as previously there had not been many findings.

According to Yen, the site is presumably a grave, as relevant cultural information shows people would bury dead relatives on top of each other under their stilt houses.

UDN reported that the RB has entrusted the National Museum of Prehistory to conduct further analysis. Once the National Museum of Prehistory has finished studying the remains, it will return them to Chiayi City.


Updated : 2021-09-26 00:37 GMT+08:00