Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Well-Dressed Dead Volume 57 Number 3, May/June 2004

A thousand-year-old mummified woman has been discovered in the eastern city of Nanjing, one of the seven capitals of ancient China. Archaeologists excavating a Song Dynasty tomb found the body, which is remarkably well-preserved, with bendable joints and skin that has retained some of its elasticity. The hair and teeth are also in good condition. Before burial, the woman's hair was coiffed into a neat top bun, and she was dressed in gold-colored brocaded garb and a belt carved with a floral motif.

The Song Dynasty ruled from A.D. 960-1279, a period that saw a unified China, rise of a merchant class, first use of gunpowder in war, and aesthetic innovations in drawing, calligraphy, and hard-glazed porcelain.

© 2004 by the Archaeological Institute of America