By all indications, scapulimancy was a widespread practice throughout the early Chinese dynasties, particularly the Shang and Zhou dynasties. During these periods, apyro-scapulimancy and pyro-scapulimancy were widely practiced as a means of entrenching the power of the ruling classes.
However, prior to the Shang and Zhou dynasties, scapulimancy was prevalent in the Neolithic culture of Longshan, typically concentrated in the central and lower Huang Ho regions.
During the Longshan cultural period, this particular practice of divination was associated with an entrenched level of social hierarchy in both life and death. Essentially, institutional violence was prevalent in Longshan society. Certainly, the culture was a violent one: archaeologists have unearthed countless weapons in Neolithic-era Longshan graves. However, what is troubling is that the skeletons of ritually killed infants and adults have also been found buried in the foundations of buildings.
The ruling elite of the Longshan...
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