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Ancient chicken skeleton provides clues to rituals


10:05, October 27, 2012

Chinese archaeologists have found the complete skeletal remains of a chicken buried some 2,000 years ago in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province in northwest China, reported on Thursday.

According to Hu Songmei, animal archaeologist and researcher at Shaanxi Provincial Archaeology Institute, the chicken skeleton can provide important information on ancient China’s chicken cultivation.

Since 2009, the institute has excavated 312 tombs of the Qin (221-206 BC) and Western Han (206 BC-24 AD) dynasties in the city’s Lintong district in order to coordinate the road construction projects. From pottery ware buried in one of the tombs, archaeologists excitedly found the chicken bones.

Ren Jianku, folklore expert and associated researcher with Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, said that chickens were important in rituals celebrating birth, marriage and funeral ceremonies in ancient times.

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