Taiwan finds 4,800-year-old fossil of mother cradling baby

4,800-year-old skeleton of a mother holding her six-month old child. She is believed to be an ancestor of the Austronesian peoples that spread across the Pacific. Taichung, Taiwan, Dapenkeng culture, 2800 BC

Taiwan finds 4,800-year-old fossil of mother cradling baby

The 48 sets of remains unearthed in graves in the Taichung area are the earliest trace of human activity found in central Taiwan. The most striking discovery among them was the skeleton of a young mother looking down at a child cradled in her arms.

Taiwan finds 4,800-year-old fossil of mother cradling baby

“When it was unearthed, all of the archaeologists and staff members were shocked. Why? Because the mother was looking down at the baby in her hands,” said Chu Whei-lee, a curator in the Anthropology Department at Taiwan’s National Museum of Natural Science.

Taiwan finds 4,800-year-old fossil of mother cradling baby

The excavation of the site began in May 2014 and took a year to complete. Carbon dating was used to determine the ages of the fossils, which included five children.