Road workers have stumbled upon a well-preserved, 700-year-old mummy while expanding a street in the Chinese city of Taizhou, in Jiangsu Province.
Experts say the body belongs to a high-ranking woman from the Ming Dynasty whose features have remained in excellent condition, Xinhua reported.
The mummy was found along with two wooden coffins buried two meters below the road surface, and the remarkable condition of her skin, hair, eyelashes and face amazed archeologists of the nearby Museum of Taizhou who visited the body after she was found.
The mummified woman is 1.5 meters tall wearing traditional Ming dynasty costume and a ring on her right hand.
Her coffin also contained relics such as bones, ceramics and ancient writings.
This is the latest discovery of well-preserved mummies in the area. Five similar findings were reported between 1979 and 2008.
According to Director of the Museum of Taizhou Wang Weiyin, the mummy's clothes are mostly made of silk, with a little cotton, two materials which are very hard to preserve.
Archeologists are trying to use the mummy to find out more about mummifying techniques during the Ming Dynasty which is known as an era of great economic growth and cultural splendor.
It was during the same period that the Forbidden City was built and the Great Wall of China was restored.
Researchers from the Taizhou Museum carefully opened the
coffins. In two they found skeletons, Ming Dynasty clothes and
funerary objects. However, in the third they found the well
preserved body of a woman (above)
The 5-foot-long corpse was tightly wrapped in cerecloth
(heavy wax-treated linen cloth used for burying the dead),
quilt and clothes.
The corpse has complete skin and clearly recognizable
facial features, hair and even eyelashes
During their investigations members of the Taizhou museum team found a number of funerary objects, including a gem ring, a silver hairpin and more than 20 pieces of cotton clothing from the time of the Ming.