From 2016, archaeologists have been excavating the ruins of 104 houses, 205 graves and 20 sacrificial pits at Jiaojia village in Zhangqiu District, Jinan City, capital of Shandong. The relics are from the Longshan Culture, a late Neolithic civilization in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, named after Mount Longshan in Zhangqiu. The area was believed to be political, economic and cultural center of northern Shandong 5,000 years ago. Ruins of ditches and clay embankments were also found.
Recently archaeologists have made a stunning discovery here, finding graves bearing the ancient remains of a ‘giant’ people buried approximately 5,000 year ago. Measurements of bones from graves in Shandong Province show the height of at least one man to have reached 1.9 meters with quite a few at 1.8 meters or taller. According to the findings, taller men were found in larger tombs, possibly because such people had a high status and were able to acquire better food. Ruins of rows of houses in the area indicate that people lived quite comfortable lives, with separate bedrooms and kitchens. Colorful pottery and jade articles have also been found.
Shandong locals believe height to be one of their defining characteristics. Confucius (551-479 B.C.), a native of the region, was said to be about 1.9 meters tall. For context, in 2015, the average height of 18-year-old males in the region was 1.753 metres (5 ft, 9 in) tall. The national average in 2015 was 1.72 metres (5 ft, 8 in). It seems modern men of the same region are significantly shorter than many of these ancient forebears, even though men in China today would enjoy far better access to a range of healthy foods, and live in an era when we know much, much more about nutrition.
While we don’t know for sure how tall the average height would have been in Shandong 5,000 years ago, European males in the period are thought to have only stood 1.65 metres (5 ft, 5 in), so it’s clear these ‘giants’ were definitely unusually tall for their time.