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									                    Human and Animal Sacrifice in Gaya

▶ Gaya tombs provide numerous examples of live human and animal burials.

Human and Animal Sacrifice

Human and animal sacrifices were among the burial rites of many ancient cultures.
Sacrifices, usually of low status individuals such as slaves, were performed at high status
burials for members of royal families or high-ranking officials. Sacrificial offerings of this
type were practiced in such diverse places as Egypt, the Near East, and China, and were
likely associated with a belief in an afterlife.
         Sanguozi, a Chinese historical document, records an example of sacrificial burial in
the ancient Korean kingdom of Buyeo. The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms, a Korean
historical record, mentions how King Jijeung prohibited such practices. King Jijeung’s
moratorium on sacrifices suggests that the practice was fairly widespread to that point in
time. Archaeological evidence from Gayan tombs indicates that sacrifices were relatively
common, but they are not mentioned in the historical record.
         Several types of archaeological evidence reveal the existence of sacrifices. When
two or more burials are present in a tomb or several tombs, the satellite burials were likely
sacrifices. By analyzing the tomb’s layout and burial accessories, as well as by using various
dating methods, it is possible to determine whether or not two or more bodies were buried
contemporaneously. If the burials are proven contemporaneous, then evidence of human
sacrifice may also be found in the form of the use of force during burials--for instance,
fractures to the skull or neck of a body or a twisted skeletal position.. Status differentiation
among entombed individuals—determined by analyzing tomb layout or burial
accessories--may also indicate sacrifices.
         In Korea, human sacrifices were mainly found in Silla and Gaya areas, although
Gaya appears to have practiced the ritual more often. Tombs with human sacrifices may be
classified into three types. Type I tombs, also known as Geumgwan-gaya type tombs,
contain human sacrifices in both the main tomb chamber and satellite tomb chambers.
Type II, also known as the Ara-gaya type, has human sacrifices only in the main tomb
chamber. Type III, or the Dae-gaya type, has live burials only in the satellite tombs or
tomb chambers.
         Type I tombs consist typically of a main tomb chamber for high status occupants
that also contains human sacrifices, as well as a satellite tomb chamber containing burial
accessories and/or human sacrifices. In the main tomb chamber, the sacrifices are placed
close to the head and feet of the deceased high status individual. In the satellite chamber,
sacrifices may lie among grave accessories. The Daeseong-dong Tombs in Gimhae provide
a classic example of Type I burials. Type I tombs containing three to five human sacrifices
have also been found in Geumgwan-gaya and Silla areas--for example, at the
Bokcheon-dong Tombs in Busan, Hwangnamnaechong Tomb in Gyeongju, and the
Imdang-dong Tombs in Gyeongsan.
         Type II, or Ara-gaya type tombs, have only one tomb chamber under a large
mound, with primary burials and human sacrifices interred together. The primary burial is
positioned at the center of the tomb chamber with the sacrificial victims placed at the head
and feet. This type of burial has only been found in the Haman area, such as at the
Dohang-ri Tombs. Tomb No. 8 at Dohang-ri has a stone chamber with vertical access.
The primary burial was positioned centrally within this chamber with five human sacrificial
victims positioned near the foot area of the main coffin. Tomb No. 34 at Dohang-ri is the
largest tomb in Haman County. It contains six victims positioned in a similar way.
         Type III tombs, or Dae-gaya type tombs, have one or more separate satellite
chambers for human sacrifices, with a separate main chamber for the primary burial, which
may also have further sacrifices positioned in the area below the main coffin.. This type of
sacrificial tomb has been found in Goryeong, Hapcheon, and Hamyang, the areas formerly
known as Dae-gaya.
         Until now tombs with multiple chambers for human sacrifices have been found
only at Jisan-ri, Goryeong County, the former center of Dae-gaya. Tomb No. 44 at Jisan-ri,
the largest of this type, has one main chamber containing a centrally positioned primary
burial and two separate votive chambers; thirty-two sacrificial tombs surround the main
tomb complex. The tomb is thought to contain up to thirty- six human sacrifices in all; one
each at the foot and head ends of the main coffin, one in each of the votive chambers, and
thirty-two in the sacrificial chambers. Sacrificial victims at this tomb include both males
and females, and vary in age between ten and fifty years. Position and orientation within
the tomb also vary considerably. In one of the satellite chambers a male and female were
buried together but laid in opposite directions (i.e. head to toe). Another chamber
contained only girls of approximately ten years of age, while yet another contained both
adults and young females.
         Burial accessories and corpse location reveal a great deal about the status of the
deceased or their role in society. Sacrificial burials within the main chamber are frequently
buried with precious jewelry, such as gold earrings and glass bead necklaces. In life (and
death) the sacrificed individuals may have been the close personal servants of the main
occupant of the tomb. The sacrificial burials within the votive chambers may have been the
guards or attendants of the main occupant. Artifacts in satellite tombs indicate the
deceased’s position in society and include furniture, agricultural implements, weaving tools,
and weapons.
         Evidence of sacrificial burials has been mainly found in large tombs and tomb
complexes. Such tombs belonged to the upper echelons of society and included royal
family members and officials. The number of accompanying sacrificial burials, along with
the size and complexity of tomb, confirm the power and status of the individual for whom
the tomb was built. All of the above practices also perhaps served to legitimate
stratification within society.
         As social systems developed, the practice of using live human burials was gradually
replaced by the burial of human and animal clay figurines. This substitution took place
earlier in the Goguryeo and Baekje Kingdoms than in the Gaya Confederation, indicating
perhaps a degree of social conservatism in Gaya.

                                                                                  Segi Kim

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