Chinese archeologists Friday opened the 2000-year-old coffin in the No. 2 tomb of the Jiuliandun Tombs, which dates back to the Warring States Period (475 BC-221 BC), at Zaoyang City in Hubei Province, central China.
Experts found an unidentified skeleton preserved in a good condition in the coffin that measures 2.36 meters long, 1.35 meters wide and 0.91 meters high. It also contained some 40 round and flat pieces of bronze or jade with holes in the middle.
The coffin exhibited fine craftsmanship. Colorful paintings on the outside panels are still clear and the insides show bright red ochre.
Traces of Chinese prickly ash seeds were found scattered on the top of the coffin, believed to be used for antiseptic and moisture-proofing purposes.
The tomb occupant could be female, judging from an embroidered shoe and a comb with cloud patterns found in the tomb, according to experts.
Over 1,000 relics from the No. 1 and No. 2 tombs had been transferred to Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, for better preservation, said Wang Hongxing, director of the provincial archeological institute.
The three-month field work at the Jiuliandun tombs was now basically completed, said Shen Haining, vice-director of the provincial Culture Department. The excavation has yielded large numbers of relics including over 1,000 bamboo slips and some rare sets of wooden vessels and musical instruments.
Archeologists will next focus on cleaning and studying the relics.
(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2002)