Archaeologists from Northwest University, China, investigating the ancient Qijia culture have discovered evidence of human sacrifice in tombs in North West China. The ancient cemetery, consisting of hundreds of tombs, is around 4,000 years old, according to LiveScience. The cemetery is located on the site of the modern village of Mogou in North West China. This area was home to the Neolithic Qijia culture, which dominated the Upper Yellow River and survived into historical times. Some artifacts belonging to this society can be dated to as late as the 1st century BC.
Evidence of the Qijia culture was first discovered in the 1920s by Swedish geologist Johann Gunnar Anderson in the village of Qijiaping. More discoveries were made by Chinese archaeologists Pei Wenzhong and Xia Nai during the 1940s and 1950s in nearby Yangwawan and Cuijiazhuang. Other Qijia sites were discovered in the Qinghai Province and the Hui Autonomous Region of Ningxia. The Qijia culture thrived during the transitional period from the Neolithic Age to the Bronze Age, between 2250 BC and 1900 BC. The society occupied the upper reaches of the Taohe, Daxia and Weihe rivers in Gansu and also in the Huangshui basin in the upper reaches of the Yellow River in Qinghai. One Qijia community was struck down by an unknown prehistoric disaster in which those strong enough to flee quickly escaped leaving their children and the elderly behind. Most of the tools they used were made of stone, but some copper artifacts have been found as well as a cast bronze mirror. Other finds include carefully crafted ceramics and personal items.