Chinese archaeologists have recently discovered the remains of a horse from approximately two thousand years ago. This fascinating find was made all the more interesting when teams of scientists analyzed the remains and were able to determine what the horse would have looked like when it was alive. Archaeological science has now evolved to a very impressive point, as these scientists have been able to prove that the 2,000 year old horse would have had golden hair. This news is particularly intriguing and could suggest that, in the future, archaeologists will be able to learn more exciting and previously unknown information about their finds.
The research itself is still ongoing and is under the supervision of scientists from the Institute of Archaeology from the Chinese Academy of Social Science, or CASS. The original findings involved the remains of five separate horses, discovered deep underground among a fascinating nomad tomb system. The tombs themselves date back more than two thousand years, with experts estimating that they were created during the time of the Western Han Dynasty, which lasted from 202 BC until 8 AD. The location of these tombs is in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the north-western section of the country.
A mixture of scientific and archaeological techniques were used to analyze the remains, helping the scientists to discover that one of the horses was golden. They were also able to discern that the mane and tail of the horse were close to white in color. The lead researcher of this particular investigation, Zhao Xin, revealed that golden horses are rarely found in the region, so this is a unique discovery. This horse is not the first of its color to be found by archaeologists, but there have not been many like it discovered over the years.
Zhao Xin was also able to reveal particulars about the life and death of this animal. The tomb complex in which it was buried had been constructed for a group of nomad people at some point between 400 BC and 120 BC. All five of the horses were allegedly part of a sacrificial ritual to honor three people, with the golden horse appearing to have particular significance. Three of the horses were discovered together in one tomb, but the golden horse was located on its own, presumably buried alongside its owner.
Zhao concluded that, because of its unique and especially attractive appearance, this horse was most likely treated with greater reverence than the others. This find is very interesting and rare, while also showing the power of modern archaeological techniques. Not only are we able to discover and identify remains from thousands of years ago, but we can even create realistic visualizations of what these animals and humans truly looked like in their living forms. Only time will tell what other advancements will arrive in the world of archaeology.