Since 2016, archeologists have been excavating a large site in the east of the country. The site contains the ruins of 104 houses, 205 graves and 20 sacrificial pits.
Dating from the late neolithic period, some 5,000 years ago, the relics belong to an ancient culture called the Longshan. Recently, scientists discovered human bones that are unusually tall and strong.
Analysis put the height of at least one man at 1.9 meters (6ft 3in), while quite a few others were 1.8 meters or taller. Considering the average height for a European in the late neolithic era was 1.65m these ancient humans would have towered above their counterparts.
Even today the average height for a man in Shandong is 1.75m, while China’s national average is 1.72m, according to China Daily.
“This is just based on the bone structure. If he was a living person, his height would certainly exceed 1.9 meters,” said Fang Hui, head of Shandong University’s school of history and culture, as cited by China Daily.
The taller men were found in larger tombs than the others, leading researchers to speculate that their height afforded them a higher status within the community.
Not all was rosy for the vertically privileged few though, as scientists discovered obvious damage to skull and leg bones which may have been down to power struggles between high-ranking individuals, as the old adage goes ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall.’