Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bizarre 'cone-headed' Skull of Woman from 2,000-year-old Ancient Silla Culture Discovered in Korea

Piecing together the woman's facial features and head shape revealed that she was a dolichocephalic - which means her head width was less than 75 per cent of its length
(Daily Mail
  • Skull found in a grave near Gyeongju, historic capital of the Silla Kingdom
  • Woman belonged to a genetic lineage still present in East Asia today
  • Carbon isotope analysis reveals the woman was a strict vegetarian 
  • She was also dolichocephalic, meaning her skull had abnormal proportions


Related: Alien Hand & Skull Found in Peru — Skull Tests: 'Clearly Not Human' -- Photograph and X-Ray Evidence

Source - Daily Mail

by Staff Writer, June 21st, 2016

The remains of a woman with a bizarre elongated skull, which is between 1,000 and 2,000 years old, have been unearthed in Korea.


The woman's head appears to be far longer than would normally be expected.

Yet despite the strange appearance, researchers say it is unlikely that this woman had her head deliberately flattened and she may have been suffering from a medical condition.

Archaeologists believe the woman was part of the ancient Silla culture, which ruled much of the Korean peninsula for nearly a millennium.

The ancient Silla Kingdom reigned from 57 BC to AD 935, making it one of the longest-ruling royal dynasties.

Many of Korea's modern-day cultural practices stem from this historic culture.

Despite the Silla's long reign, the number of burials with intact skeletons remained sparse, said study co-author Dong Hoon Shin, a bioanthropologist at Seoul National University College of Medicine in the Republic of Korea.

Speaking to Live Science, Mr Shin said: 'The skeletons are not preserved well in the soil of Korea.'

However, in 2013, researchers had a lucky break while excavating a grave near Gyeongju, the historic capital of the Silla Kingdom.

The mitochondrial DNA revealed that the woman belonged to a genetic lineage that is still present in East Asia today
Inside a traditional burial coffin, called a 'mokgwakmyo', they found the nearly intact bones of a woman who died in her late 30s. Analysis suggests she had been around 5 feet (1.55m) tall.

To understand more about the woman, researchers extracted her mitochondrial DNA - which is passed to offspring from their mothers.

The mitochondrial DNA revealed that the woman belonged to a genetic lineage that is still present in East Asia today.



Additional analysis of the carbon isotopes in the skeleton also showed that the woman did not eat meat, which is in line with the strict teachings of Buddhism at the time.

Piecing together the woman's facial features and head shape revealed that she was a dolichocephalic - which means her head width was less than 75 per cent of its length.


In 2013, researchers had a lucky break while excavating a grave near Gyeongju, the historic capital of the Silla Kingdom
Inside a traditional burial coffin, called a 'mokgwakmyo,' lay the nearly perfectly intact bones of a woman who died in her late 30s

Today, head shapes in the area are widely different, where people are commonly brachycephalic - which means their head widths are at least 80 per cent of the head length.

While the researchers initially thought the head might have been deliberately deformed to have this shape, they eventually ruled this out.

The skull did not have flat bones at the front of which are distinctive in deliberately deformed skulls.

Speaking to Live Science, Eun Jin Woo, who co-authored the study, said: 'The skull in this study did not show the shape changes in deformed crania.

'In this regard, we think her head should be considered as normal variation in the group.'

The Ancient Silla Culture

The ancient Silla Kingdom reigned over part of the Korean Peninsula from 57 BC to AD 935, making it one of the longest-ruling royal dynasties.

Many of Korea's modern-day cultural practices stem from this historic culture.

Despite its long reign, the number of Silla burials with intact skeletons remained few and far between.

However, in 2013, researchers had a lucky break while excavating a grave near Gyeongju, the historic capital of the Silla Kingdom.


Inside a traditional burial coffin, called a 'mokgwakmyo,' lay the nearly perfectly intact bones of a woman who died in her late 30s.

The researchers used digital technology to recreate what the woman's face would have looked like. Additionally, their results suggest she was around 5 feet (1.55m) tall

While the researchers initially thought the head might have been deliberately deformed to have this shape, they eventually ruled this out, as the skull did not have flat bones at the front
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