Ancient Chinese Dynasties Facts

Shang Dynasty Oracle Bones

Ancient Oracle Bone
Shang Oracle Bone


Oracle bones, produced during the Shang Dynasty, are the earliest examples of ancient Chinese writing. Oracle bones provide important information about the Shang Dynasty and their discovery actually confirmed the existence of this ancient Chinese dynasty. On this page we list interesting facts about Shang Dynasty oracle bones including what they are, why they were created, who created them, and where they have been discovered. This information is written for both kids and adults.

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What are Shang Dynasty Oracle Bones

Oracle Bones were bones such as turtle shells or ox scapulaes (shoulders) used by the ancient Chinese to predict the future (divination). Shang Dynasty rulers, or other members of the royal family or nobles, would pose various types of questions concerning such matters as crops, weather, military actions, and health to their ancestors or their God. Diviners, people who used magical powers to predict the future, would carve the questions into the bone and then apply a hot metal rod to the bone. The intense heat would crack the bone upon which the diviner would interpret the cracks and supply the ruler with an answer to their question.

Interesting Facts about Shang Dynasty Oracle Bones