Ancient Diviners

December 17th, 2011 § 0 comments

Oracle Tortoise Shell

Archeologists in China’s Shaanxi province have unearthed more than 10,000 engraved tortoise shells at the Zhougong Temple site.

The shells date back to the Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1100 BC-771 BC) and are part of a large excavation that’s been ongoing since 2004.

It’s an amazing discovery. Nearly 2,600 recognizable characters have been identified, telling a story of life during the Shang and Zhou dynasties.

According to People Daily, in late November researchers uncovered one shell that depicts a scene of two people practicing divination together.

The report doesn’t mention how they’re divining, but whether they’re reading sticks, stones, or bones, it’s nice to think of these ancient diviners sitting around doing exactly what my friends and I do with our cards.

The divining pair seems to be an unusual specimen. Most of the shells found record information about ancestor worship, troop movements, and other matters. They also describe dream interpretation.

War, worship, dreams, and predictions. We don’t write on tortoise shells anymore, but it looks like we still write about the same things.

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