Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (06): 981-992.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0074

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A study of human bones from the Gavaerk cemetery in Qiemo county, Xinjiang

ZHANG Yajun(), ZHANG Xu   

  1. Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Science, Beijing 100101
  • Received:2021-04-20 Revised:2021-06-16 Online:2021-12-15 Published:2021-12-17


The present study summarizes a combined biological and cultural assessment of human skeletal remains from Gavaerk cemetery at Qiemo County, Xinjiang, to decipher trends related to population variation, health, and lifestyle in this region. The skeletal assemblage of Qiemo was unearthed from 29 burials, consisting of 150 individuals (MNI; 73 males, 50 females, and 27 undetermined). Males had an average age at death of 36.3 years, while females had 35.6 years. Cranial osteometric results largely indicate that Qiemo people appear to have considerable phenetic similarities with European groups, namely, depressed nasion, highly arched nasals, and deep canine fossa. Cluster analysis also suggests that Qiemo people have a close morphological affinity to ancient populations in Xinjiang, such as Yanbulaq group C, Charwighul group IV, and Duogang. Even though very limited “Mongolian” phenetic characteristics have been captured from Qiemo people, integrated with ancient mitochondrial DNA, material culture, and cranial morphological analyses, this paper reveals a genetic admixture with populations from Eurasia, suggesting a possible dual ancestry stemming from two different areas: one, most likely from Siberia; the other from Gansu, China. Nevertheless, the genetic interactions between ancient groups may have been at an early stage, so that the patterns observed in craniofacial morphology of the Qiemo people are not congruent with their genetic structure. In addition, this paper preliminarily examined the stature, trauma, and cranial pathology (cranial deformation of one individual) in this sample.

Key words: Xinjiang, Qiemo, Human skeleton, Spring and Autumn Period, Warring State

CLC Number: