The average height of a modern Chinese man is thought to be about 172 centimeters (5.6 feet). So the discovery of much larger men dating back 5,000 years is certainly causing some heads to be turned.
Archaeologists discovered the skeletons of these “giants” in Shandong province in East China. They found graves containing bones of relatively large people, with one man reaching up to 1.9 meters (6.2 feet), and a few others at least 1.8 meters (5.9 feet).
"This is just based on the bone structure. If he was a living person, his height would certainly exceed 1.9 meters," said Fang Hui, head of Shandong University's school of history and culture, reported Xinhua News.
The taller men were found in larger tombs than their smaller counterparts, which may be because they had a higher status and were able to acquire better food. They likely would have towered over many others in the area.
However, archaeologists also found “obvious damage to the head and leg bones of some of the bodies and to pottery and jade articles in six large tombs.” This may have been done not long after the burials, and could have been due to “power struggles” among the high-ranking people.
The excavation site was specifically in a village called Jiaojia. Since 2016, the ruins of 104 houses, 205 graves, and 20 sacrificial pits have been found here.
Interestingly, the Chinese philosopher Confucious (551 to 479 BCE) came from the Shandong province, and was reportedly quite tall himself at 1.9 meters. Shandong locals reportedly pride themselves on their height. In 2015, they were found to have an average height of 1.75 meters (5.75 feet), compared to the national average of 1.72 meters (5.64 feet).
These particular bones from a late Neolithic civilization dating back 4,500 to 5,000 years ago. They lived in the lower reaches of the Yellow River, but not a huge amount is known about this area at this time.
These bones aren’t the only interesting find at the site. Colorful pottery and jade articles have been found in the rows of houses, which supposedly indicate the peopled lived comfortable lives.
It’s not clear what made these men so tall. Diverse and rich food resources may have played a part. By Western standards, 1.9 meters might not seem that tall. But certainly in China at the time, these people would have towered high above everybody else.
(H/T: Xinhua News)