Korean noblewoman buried with her horse gear

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The unearthed remains of a noblewoman. Her remains lie with those of a younger man, who was considered to be a human sacrifice. Photo: Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea
The unearthed remains of a noblewoman. Her remains lie with those of a younger man, who was considered to be a human sacrifice. Photo: Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea

A noblewoman was entombed in Korea more than 1500 years ago with her horse-riding equipment and other personal possessions, it has been revealed.

The unearthed evidence suggested she almost certainly rode horses and was used to handling weapons.

Archaeologists found the remains of a man beside her, who they believed was sacrificed to be entombed with her.

Experts with the Cultural Heritage Administration in South Korea estimate that the woman died in her 30s.

The tomb, dating from the fifth or early sixth century, was found near the coastal city of Gyeongju. The site was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, which flourished from 57 BC to 935 AD.

The woman wore a belt decorated with gold and was also buried with jade jewels and a bead necklace.

Her horse harness, a sword, and pottery were found in a separate room within the tomb.

Archaeologists believe the man, who appeared to be younger than the woman, was sacrificed, as none of the items found in the tomb appeared to be related to him.

It is unclear whether he was buried as a bodyguard or a lover. Male sacrifices have been found in the tombs of other noblewomen in the region, but their bodies were placed in the room with the artifacts, presumably as guards.

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