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4,800-Year-Old Remains of a Woman Cradling an Infant Unearthed in Taiwan

The cause of death remains a mystery.

| 1 min read

The cause of death remains a mystery.

A team of archaeologists in Taiwan has uncovered a mass grave containing human remains dating back at least 4,800 years. The most startling discovery was the skeleton of a woman cradling an infant in her arms.

"When it was unearthed, all of the archaeologists and staff members were shocked,” Chu Whei-lee, a curator at Taiwan's National Museum of Natural Science, told Reuters. “Why? Because the mother was looking down at the baby in her hands."

However, genetic analysis would be required to determine with certainty that the pair represents a mother and her child.

The researchers took measurements of the woman, who is 160 cm tall, or 5 foot 2 inches. The infant in her arms is 50 cm tall, which is just over a foot-and-a-half.

Excavation of the site located in the Taichung area began in 2014 and took a year to complete. Carbon dating was used to determine the ages of the fossils, which trace back to the Neolithic — a period within the Stone Age.

The causes of death of the nearly 50 individuals interred in the grave remain unknown. But their remains provide evidence of some of the earliest signs of human life in central Taiwan.

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