A well-preserved ancient corpse, believed to date from the Western Han Dynasty (BC206-24AD) was recently unearthed from a construction site in Lianyungang, eastern Jiangsu Province.
The female corpse, estimated to be over 2,000 years old, is said to still have elastic muscle tissue from being immersed in special fluid in her coffin, according to Zhou Jinping, curator of Lianyungang Museum which is currently looking after the find.
The coffin was sent to the museum after being discovered at the construction site on July 8.
Archeologists found a female corpse floating in the liquid when they opened the coffin. Most of her skin had turned brown and the veins of some toes, which were exposed above the liquid, were visible.
A rectangular lacquer box, bamboo food container, comb, copper mirror, lock of hair with a hairpin, and a clearly-written list of burial articles were also found in the coffin, Zhou revealed.
Xu Yongqing, a specialist in corpse preservation, pointed out that the dead is an old lady, and there is sign of rot on her face and abdomen, which had happened before the coffin was opened.
Xu predicted that the corpse could be preserved in a long time in fluid.
The corpse, believed to be priceless in terms of archeological research, was now preserved in formal in and covered with a layer of absorbent cotton, ready for further study to determine the woman's precise historical age, social status and other background details, said Zhou.
This latest find is only the third well-preserved Han Dynasty corpse ever discovered. The other two were excavated separately in the famous Mawangdui Han Tomb in Changsha, Hunan Province, and the Jingzhou Han Tomb in Hubei Province.
(People's Daily July 15, 2002)