Anthropology and History

The Best Preserved Mummy Ever Discovered

The new wet mummy accidentally unearthed in an unmarked grave in China was found complete with body hair, clothes and jewelry, all in pristine condition.

posted on 03/11/2011
Asher Kade
Scribol Staff

mummyPhoto: Chibart

Many of us have grown up learning about incredible mummies. But, what if we could see a mummy that didn’t look, well, so dried up and doll-like? Finally, we all have what we’ve always wanted: a wet mummy.

Road crews in China who were creating and paving a road unearthed a gold mine – archaeologically speaking – quite recently. Why an ancient Chinese person was buried just 6 feet below the surface in an unmarked area no one knows.

mummyPhoto: Keith Schengili-Roberts

What is known is that the photographs of this exquisite mummy are breathtaking and tell a historical tale. The mummy was found complete with well-preserved hair and eyelashes.

mummyPhoto: Andrew Parodi

Just under 5 feet tall, the petite young lady was clothed in a lovely dress – still in perfect condition – along with artifacts and belongings. Because of the expensive nature of her jewelry and belongings, this Ming Dynasty era mummy had to be of important rank.

The city of Taizhou is no stranger to uncovering beautiful mummies. In 1979, the first Ming Dynasty Era mummy was discovered there, inspiring the erection of the city’s famous museum. From 1979 to 2008, five more were found in the city, all in unmarked graves.

However, this is by far the best preserved mummy ever to come from the area or indeed anywhere in the world. She is so perfectly intact because of the moist, anaerobic (lacking in oxygen) conditions she was buried in. This is believed to have been an accident, not purposely done.

That said, modern embalming wasn’t practiced until many centuries later, with the Egyptians most notable for their mummification processes. These extensive preparations of the dead were only bestowed upon important individuals.

mummyPhoto: charmzchiu

The brown liquid this latest find was immersed in was the likely cause of her well-preserved state. It appears that as we learn more and more about mummification, Egyptians will have a bit of competition, having held the reigns in this department for so long in the popular imagination!

The pictures of this new wet mummy are absolutely worth the time and attention it takes to check them out.

Asher Kade
Scribol Staff