Category Archives: CHINA

well preserved 700-year-old mummy found by chance by Chinese road workers

Well preserved 700-year-old mummy found by chance by Chinese road workers

If most people think of mummies, they represent Egyptian culture and complex techniques for mummification aimed at bridging life and death and maintaining the survival of the body.

Whereas most mummies found today are a result of this process, there have been rare occasions where a mummified body is not the result of an intentional preservation process, but of some form of natural preservation.

Chinese road workers discovered the extremely well-preserved remains of a woman dating back 700 years to the Ming Dynasty. This discovery provided much insight into the lifestyle of the people from the Ming Dynasty and left many questions. Who was this woman? And how did she remain so well-preserved over the centuries?

Road-workers discovered the tomb of a woman from the Ming Dynasty in China.

The discovery of the Chinese mummy was quite shocking. In Taizhou, in the Jiangsu Province located in Eastern China, road workers were clearing the way to widen a road.

This task involved digging several feet into the ground. They were digging approximately six feet below the surface when they struck a large, solid object.

They quickly realized that it may be a significant find, so they contacted a team of archaeologists from the Taizhou Museum to excavate the area. They eventually determined that this was actually a tomb, and inside they found a three-layered coffin.

Upon opening one the main coffin, the archaeologists saw layers of silk and linens, covered in a brown liquid. When they looked beneath the linens, they discovered the stunning remains of a female.

The remains were almost completely intact, including her body, hair, skin, clothing, and jewelry. Details such as her eyebrows and eyelashes were still perfectly preserved.

The Ming Dynasty mummy was found in a near-perfect state, though researchers are unclear how she remained so well preserved

Researchers have not been able to definitively establish how old the body is. The woman was believed to have lived during the Ming Dynasty, which dated from 1368 through 1644.

This mean’s the woman’s body could potentially be 700 years old if it dates back to the start of the Dynasty. The woman was dressed in traditional clothing from the Ming Dynasty, and was adorned with several pieces of jewelry, including a striking green ring. From her jewelry and the fine silks she was wrapped in, it is believed that she was a high-ranking civilian.

The coffin also contained bones, ceramics, ancient writings and other relics. The archaeologists who excavated the coffin did not know whether the brown liquid inside the coffin was used intentionally to preserve the body, or if it was just groundwater that had seeped into the coffin.  

However, some researchers have claimed that this body was likely preserved due to being buried in just the right environment. If the temperature and oxygen level in water is just right, bacteria cannot grow, and decomposition can be slowed or halted.

The woman was found lying in a brown liquid which is thought to have preserved the body, although researchers think this may have been accidental.

This discovery provides researchers with an intimate look into the customs of the Ming Dynasty. They have a very clear view of the clothing and jewelry people wore, and some of the relics that were used during the time. This can answer many questions about the lifestyle, traditions, and daily activities of the people from that time.

The finding also opened up many new questions as to what conditions led to the extreme preservation of her body over the course of hundreds of years.

There are also questions about who this woman was, what role she played within society, how she died, and whether any portion of her preservation was intentional.

Due to the secluded nature of this discovery, many of these questions may never be answered, as it can be difficult to provide such answers with only one set of remains. If similar discoveries are made in the future, they may provide the information needed to answer these, and other questions about this woman – the accidental mummy.

Archaeologists Find 13,500-Year-Old Bird Figurine in China

Archaeologists Find 13,500-Year-Old Bird Figurine in China

The oldest known statuette found in China is an ancient bird recovered from a refuse heap that sheds new light on how our ancestors created 3D art and a new study finds.

Lingjing bird carving: (A) photographs of the six aspects of the carvings; (B) 3D renderings of the carving obtained by CT scan. Scale bars – 2 mm.

Researchers uncovered the miniature carving at the Lingjing site in china, where previous excavations revealed 11 layers each of different ages, from 120,000 years ago to the Bronze Age ..

The item was found in a refuse heap leftover from well diggers who removed most of the fifth layer in 1958.

The location possesses a spring, which “may have attracted prehistoric populations at different times,” said study co-author Francesco d’Errico, an archaeologist at the University of Bordeaux in France.

The figurine depicts a songbird on a rectangular pedestal. The artist deliberately added weight to the sculpture by oversizing the tail to prevent the bird from falling forward, d’Errico said. “The artist knew that making a sculpture is a matter of finding the right balance.”

Francesco D’Errico and Luc DoyonA small bird carving is the oldest piece of East Asian three-dimensional art ever discovered.

The sculpture is made of bone that likely came from the limb of an adult medium-size mammal such as a deer, boar, gazelle, or wolf and was burned before carving.

At only 1.9 centimeters (about .75 inches) long and 1.25 centimeters high, the statuette “is so small that it is possible similar carvings were not recognized in previous excavations in which the sediment was not systematically sieved,” d’Errico said.

Other artifacts uncovered from the refuse heap include ceramic potsherds, stone blades, and a pendant made from ostrich eggshell.

Radiocarbon dating of unearthed burned animal remains from the fifth layer, including a bone fragment with gouging marks also seen on the statuette, suggested the artifact is about 13,500 years old, meaning it originated during the Paleolithic, or Old Stone Age when the first human art appeared.

Until now, the oldest known Chinese figurine was a jade songbird about 5,000 years old found near Beijing. This new discovery pushes back the origins of animal sculpture in East Asia by roughly 8,500 years.

Markings on the figurine suggest it was carried around for some time in a leather bag, the researchers said. “Was it a toy? A gaming piece? A religious effigy? Is it art for art’s sake? Something deeper? It’s fascinating to speculate,” said Adam Brumm, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Australia, who did not take part in this research.

Until recently, the earliest human art was found in Europe. However, increasingly scientists have discovered similarly old artwork elsewhere in the world, such as roughly 44,000-year-old cave paintings found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Until now, the carving of small figurines was the only artistic practice left that might have potentially originated in Europe, with examples including statuettes carved from mammoth ivory found in Germany dating up to roughly 40,000 years old.

These new findings suggest that prehistoric humans living in China might have independently developed the concept of three-dimensionally representing the world around them — for instance, the bird figurine has a number of features not seen in other Paleolithic sculptures, such as how it was carved from burnt bone, and how it depicts a bird on a pedestal, the researchers noted.

“Before this discovery, we thought that 3D representations were a recent phenomenon in East Asia,” d’Errico said. “This diminutive carving supports the hypothesis that the production of 3D representations does not have a single origin.”

“No doubt, with researchers focusing their attention on East Asia and Southeast Asia at this time, we will see more figurines — of animals or people or other items from life or myths — being recovered over the next few years,” said Michelle Langley, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Australia, who did not participate in this study.

The world’s most Amazing Meteorite found

The world’s most Amazing Meteorite found

When the Fukang meteorite came soaring through the Earth’s atmosphere and crashed on the ground, it showed little sign of beauty. Then they opened it.

Undoubtedly the world’s most amazing meteorite landed was found in China in 2000. It crashed into a mountain range near Fukang, China, which is where it earned its name.

When it slammed into the surface of Earth, there was little sign of the beauty that lay inside. But cutting the Fukang meteorite open yielded a breathtaking sight.

Cosmic wonder: Marvin Killgore of the Arizona Meteorite Laboratory lets the sunshine through a polished slice of the Fukang rock

Within the rock, translucent golden crystals of a mineral called olivine gleamed among a silvery honeycomb of nickel-iron.

The rare meteorite weighed about the same as a hatchback when it was discovered in 2000, in the Gobi Desert in China’s Xinjiang Province.

It has since been divided into slices which give the effect of stained glass when the sun shines through them.

An anonymous collector holds the largest portion, which weighs 925lb. in 2008, this piece was expected to fetch $2million (£1.26million) at auction at Bonham’s in New York – but it remained unsold.

It is so valuable that even tiny chunks sell in the region of £20-30 per gram.

Arizona’s Southwest Meteorite Laboratory, which holds about 70lb of the rock, says the remarkable find will turn out to be ‘one of the greatest meteorite discoveries of the 21st century’.

It says the Fukang specimen outshines all other known examples of the pallasite class, which makes up just one percent of all meteorites. However, it is not the biggest – in 2005 space rock hunter Steve Arnold dug up a 1,400lb sample in Kansas.

Valuable: The main mass of the Fukang meteorite, which failed to sell after being valued at $2million. The intact space rock weighed as much as a small car

The Arizona lab’s experts say pallasites, whose make-up of half nickel-iron, half olivine gives them their mosaic-like appearance, are ‘thought to be relics of forming planets’.

They are believed to originate from deep inside intact meteors created during the formation of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago and very few specimens are thought to have survived their descent through Earth’s atmosphere.

February 2005 saw the Chinese space rock transported all the way to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, in Tucson, Arizona.

The U.S. lab claims their polished slice of the original meteorite is the world’s biggest pallasite cross-section, measuring 36in by 19in.

4.5 billion years in the making: Golden olivine meets silvery nickel-iron to create a stunningly beautiful mosaic effect.

Researchers Map Great Wall of China’s Northern Line

Researchers Map Great Wall of China’s Northern Line

Tuesday, an Israeli archeology specialist said that the northern line of China’s Great Wall was not designed to stop invading armies but rather to track civilian movements.

The observations of scientists who first traced the 740 kilometers (460-mile), Northern Line, for the first time, their findings challenged previous assumptions.

Gideon Shelach-Lavi, of Hebrew University, who oversaw the two-year report, said, “Before analysis, most people thought the wall was to stop Genghis Khan ‘s army.

But the Northern Line, lying mostly in Mongolia, winds through valleys, is relatively low in height and close to paths, pointing to non-military functions.

“Our conclusion is that it was more about monitoring or blocking the movement of people and livestock, maybe to tax them,” Shelach-Lavi said.

Aerial view of part of the Northern Line.

He suggested people may have been seeking warmer southern pastures during a medieval cold spell.

Construction of the Great Wall, which is split into sections that in total stretch for thousands of kilometers, first began in the third century BC and continued for centuries.

Wall and structural remains.

The Northern Line, also known as “Genghis Khan’s Wall” in reference to the legendary Mongolian conqueror, was built between the 11th and 13th centuries with pounded earth and dotted with 72 structures in small clusters.

Shelach-Lavi and his team of Israeli, Mongolian and American researchers used drones, high-resolution satellite images and traditional archaeological tools to map out the wall and find artefacts that helped pin down dates.

According to Shelach-Lavi, whose findings from the ongoing study were published in the journal Antiquity, the Northern Line has been largely overlooked by contemporary scientists.