Beijing, March 30 (IANS) Archaeologists in China’s Henan province have discovered ruins of a temple dating back around 5,000 years, believed to in the shape of the Big Dipper — the seven bright stars of the constellation Ursa Major.
The excavation at the Qingtai ruins in Xingyang city was listed on Thursday as one of the top five archaeological discoveries in the province, reports Xinhua.
Nine ceramic pots were laid out in the shape of the Big Dipper, with a round sacrificial altar at the eastern side, said Wei Qingli, a researcher with Zhengzhou cultural heritage institute.
A human skeleton showing signs of unnatural death and three funeral urns were found around the altar.
“The discovery shows that people had some astronomic knowledge and an established ritual ceremonial pattern in the shape of the Big Dipper,” Wei said.
Qingtai ruins are one of the examples of Neolithic Yangshao culture. Ruins of a mud-brick house were also found.
A cluster of 189 tombs was also excavated. Wood coffins were mostly used and the corpses had apparently been wrapped before burial, Wei added.