GUANGZHOU, April 16 (Xinhua) -- A 13,500-year-old tomb with a headless woman "squatting" inside, was confirmed as the oldest Chinese tomb where the owner was laid to rest in a certain posture.
The tomb is part of the Qingtang ruins in the city of Yingde, southern China's Guangdong Province. From within the tomb, archaeologists have unearthed remains of a female aged between 13 and 18 years old with her head missing for unknown reasons.
It is the oldest tomb found in China with a squatting owner or an owner whose body was deliberately placed in a specific position, said Liu Suoqiang, who heads the Qingtang ruins excavation project.
Apart from the squatting posture, the discovery of burial items, including a bone pin, inside the tomb suggests burial practices at that time followed a set of procedures and rituals, Liu told Xinhua.
"It points to the emergence of the concepts of life and death and of primitive religious beliefs," Liu said.
The practice of burying the dead in a squatting posture has been found in prehistoric tombs in southern China and southeast Asia, which cast a major difference from northern China, where early tomb owners were usually found lying on their backs with stretched limbs.
Archaeologists are still debating on the symbolism of the squatting posture, with some suggesting it was a simulation of baby in the womb.