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16 November 2017
5,500-year-old cemetery excavated in China

Archaeologists are currently excavating a 5,500-year-old cemetery in Shaanxi Province, north-central China, which is estimated to have more than 2,000 graves. Covering around 90,000 square metres, the cemetery lies to the northeast of the Yangguanzhai ruins belonging to a late Neolithic group known as the Yangshao, originating from the middle reaches of the Yellow River and considered a main precursor of Chinese civilisation.
     The excavations began in 2015. Until now, in an area of 3,800 square metres, 339 graves have been found, half of which have been excavated. Some have suspected traces of textiles around the bones. Grave goods include painted pottery, bone beads and hair clasps, stone or pottery earrings, pigments, and tortoise shell.
     Archaeologists and researchers are also using whole genome sequencing to investigate family relationships between individual burials.

Edited from Xinhuanet (10 November 2017), ECNS (11 November 2017)

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