Road Workers in China Unearth 700-Year-Old Mummy
A road excavation in China turned into an archaeological dig when workers unearthed a 700-year-old mummy.
A wooden coffin containing the find was found during preparations for a road-expansion project in the eastern part of the country.
Workers discovered the tomb, which had been buried for hundreds of years, roughly 6 feet below the busy street’s surface in the city of Taizhou, in the Jiangsu province, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail. Two other wooden coffins also were found.
Archaeologists from the Museum of Taizhou were called to the site. The coffin containing the woman was opened March 1, revealing a perfectly preserved corpse wearing a dress from the Ming Dynasty. This placed her existence somewhere between 1368 and 1644, The Independent reported.
The Ming Dynasty marked a time of great prosperity and wealth in China’s history, both economically and culturally. Judging by her mostly silk and cotton garments — luxury textiles to which only the rich were privy — as well as the expensive ring on her right hand, the mummy had to be of important stature, the state agency Xinhua News reported. Also inside the box were bones, ceramics and ancient writings and relics.
The U.K.’s Mirror reported that the corpse was so well-preserved, even her eyelashes were intact. The woman’s features, including skin, hair and face, showed almost no signs of deterioration. Measuring just under 5 feet, the petite female’s clothing also stood the test of time, as evidenced by the detailed stitching visible on the soles of her shoes. The brown liquid in which she was immersed probably had something to do with her pristine condition.
Around May of 1979, the first finding from the Ming Dynasty in Taizhou led to the founding of the city museum. The unidentified woman is the most recent well-preserved mummy found in that area. Xinhua News reported that between 1979 and 2008, five mummies in good condition were discovered.
During the Ming Dynasty, only prestigious people were preserved using the mummification process. Scientists plan to study the mummy to learn more about techniques employed during that period.