The construction of the palace in ancient Korea began with human sacrifices
During the excavations of the Wolson palace complex, archaeologists have found confirmation that sacrifices, including human ones, were made before the construction of large objects in Ancient Korea. On top of the lower layer of the western fortress wall were the remains of a woman about 20 years old, and two other skeletons of adults were already found 50 centimeters from them in 2017. The excavation results are reported by Korea JoongAng Daily.
The South Korean city of Gyeongju housed the Wolson (“Crescent Palace”) palace complex, which served as the seat of the Silla Dynasty, which ruled one of the three Korean states between 57 BC and 935 AD. This site, together with the historical district of Gyeongju, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. One of the surviving attractions on this monument turned out to be an ice storage – a stone building 18.8 meters long and 2.4 meters wide.
Written sources indicated that the palace was built in 101 AD. However, archaeological research has not confirmed this. Scientists are inclined to believe that the structure was erected in the IV or V century AD. In 2017, the remains of two people from the 5th century AD were discovered here, near the western gate. They belonged to a man and a woman about 50 years old, who were apparently sacrificed during the construction of the structure.
In the course of ongoing work, Korean archaeologists have found the remains of another woman, about 20 years old, just 50 centimeters from the place where the skeletons of a man and a woman were previously found. Jang Ki-myeong of the National Research Institute for Cultural Heritage of Kenju noted that no signs of wrestling were found on the woman’s bones. This is also true of past finds. All people were buried in the supine position.
Archaeologists noted that the remains were well preserved, with the exception of the pelvic bones, which are usually used to determine sex, so the assessment was carried out on other grounds – physique and height. The remains of all three people belonged to people from the lower strata of society, as they were all quite low and had an imbalance in nutrition, which was revealed during the study of the teeth.
There was a ceramic vessel next to the head of the buried woman. Thanks to X-rays, archeology revealed that there is another small bowl inside this pot. They assume that there was alcohol or some other liquid inside the dish.
The remains of three people were laid on top of the lowest layer of the western fortress wall, in front of the place where the western gate should have been located. Apparently, after the completion of the preparation of the foundation and the transition to the next stage of construction, the ancient Koreans performed a ritual sacrifice of not only animals, but also people. A similar tradition existed in ancient China during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) and was practiced in the construction of large buildings.