4,500-year-old skeletons found in SW China

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Well-preserved human skeletons estimated to be about 4,500-years-old have been unearthed from a graveyard in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the local archaeological department said Sunday.

The graveyard was discovered on the site of a prehistoric city in Zhao'an Village, Dayi County, according to the Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute of Chengdu City, capital of the province.

The numerous tombs are densely distributed and different burial methods are apparent, Zhou Zhiqing, director of the archaeological team working on the ruins, said, noting that it was the earliest and most complete graveyard of its kind found on the Chengdu Plain.

"The skeletons found were well preserved as they were beneath ground-water level and were cut off from air," Zhou said.

The find will help with research on neolithic people, such as into health, nutrition, oral diseases and diet composition and so on, according to Zhou.

The skeletons will also provide evidence for research on neolithic population, pathology and DNA test analysis, Zhou added.

In addition, many cultural relics were also unearthed from the site, including stone ware, pottery and two ivory bracelets, according to Zhou.

Zhou said the new findings will provide materials to aid China's archaeological research on culture resources and development along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River during Late Neolithic Age.

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