Archaeologists discover ancient Chinese woman who had her leg cut off as punishment

(ORDO NEWS) — An ancient Chinese woman had her leg amputated without medical evidence. An article about this is published in Acta Anthropologica Sinica.

The skeleton was found in the area of ​​​​the city of Zhuoyuan, Shaanxi Province in 1999, but scientists did not immediately pay attention to it. The woman lived about 2800-3000 years ago.

There are no signs of any disease on the bones that would make amputation necessary. In addition, the leg was cut off roughly, so that Li Nan and his colleagues at Peking University concluded that it was not a surgical operation.

“The cut surface of her right tibia was not smooth and did not heal properly,” Lee said. “Surgical amputations were much better back then.”

Scientists believe that the woman was subjected to yue (yue) – an ancient Chinese punishment, during which a person’s foot was cut off.

In a woman’s lifetime, up to 500 different offenses could result in a leg amputation, including rioting, cheating, stealing and climbing over gates, Li said.

However, there is no way to find out what exactly the woman did. At the time of her death, she was about 30-35 years old, and after the amputation, she lived for about five years.

Yue was one of the five ancient Chinese punishments, along with branding of the face, cutting off the nose, death sentence, and castration. They were abolished in the second century BC, replaced by fines, flogging, hard labor, exile or the death penalty.


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