4,000-year-old skeletons of mother and child found embraced in ‘China’s Pompeii’

The loving embrace of a mother and child has lasted 4,000 years, as Chinese archaeologists found when they discovered their interlocked skeletons.

The mother is believed to have been trying to protect her child during a powerful earthquake that hit Qinghai province, central China, in about 2,000 BC.

The remains were dug up on an early Bronze Age archaeological site branded the ‘Pompeii of the East’, the People’s Daily Online reported.

Scroll down for video 

Heartbreaking: Skeletal remains show the mother kneeling down on the ground with her arms around her son in central China

Clinging on: Another pair of skeletons found at the Chinese archaeological site also appear to be embracing each other

Victims: The well-preserved remains show the deceased’s final moments before a devastating earthquake hit the village


Tragic: Photographs of the site of devastation were released last week and have touched people across China

Experts believe the site was hit by an earthquake and flooding of the Yellow River, but are yet to understand the exact scale of the disaster.

However, the catastrophe is thought to have wiped out the entire settlement, leading to comparisons with Pompeii – although the site, known as Lajia – is more than 2,000 years older than the ancient Roman city.

Photographs of the skeletal remains show the mother looking up above as she kneels on the floor, with her arms around her young child. Archaeologists say they believe her child was a boy.

Another pair of skeletons were also found locked in an embrace at the same site, this time lying down on the floor.  A number of other remains have also been discovered huddled together.

The remains were dug up on an early Bronze Age archaeological site in Lajia, central China, branded the ‘Pompeii of the East’

Lost civilisation: The site holds clues to people living in the early Bronze Age in the upper Yellow River region of China

Hard at work: The team of archaeologists presented their findings at a conference earlier this month following the excavation

The incredibly well-preserved site paints a tragic picture of people trying to their families in the midst of a terrifying earthquake.

The Lajia site is the largest disaster excavation site in China at nearly 40,000 square feet and was first discovered in the early 2000s.

The excavation site is of particular historical importance because it holds clues to an early Bronze Age civilisation that lived in the upper Yellow River region. The team of archaeologists presented their findings at an academic conference in Gansu province, northwest China, earlier this month.

The skeletons are now on display at the Lajia Ruins Museum.