China: Ancient coffin 'rescued' from tomb raiders

The opened coffin in Xilin Hot The grave contained the silk-wrapped body of a woman

Chinese archaeologists have "rescued" an ancient coffin from tomb raiders trying to break in to a grave site via a 10m (33ft) hole, it appears.

The 1,500-year-old, pinewood coffin was found in a tomb in pasture land in the northern Inner Mongolian region and dates from the Northern Wei Dynasty between the years 386-535 AD, the China Daily newspaper reports. Inside, scientists found the remains of what appears to be an aristocratic woman, wearing silk clothing, fur boots and a metal headband.

The well-preserved remains will enable archaeologists to study the funeral customs of the Xianbei nomadic groups who lived in northern China at that time, experts told Chinese media. Hair samples will also allow forensic analysis of the woman's age and diet. The area appears to be an important burial site for aristocrats of that period.

Illegal excavations of ancient grave sites has been a persistent problem in China. There have even been reports of tomb raiders using explosives to access historical treasures.

Archaeologists examine the coffin at Xilin Gol league museum in China's Inner Mongolia Archaeologists examine the coffin at Xilin Gol league museum in China's Inner Mongolia

Use #NewsfromElsewhere to stay up-to-date with our reports via Twitter.

More on This Story

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.