French tests on 359-year-old body

A scientists examines the remains of the woman in Rennes Image copyright AFP
Image caption The body was found in a lead sarcophagus in March last year

French scientists have carried out tests on the remarkably well-preserved body of a 17th Century woman found in the north-western city of Rennes.

They say they believe the 1.45m (5ft) remains are those of Louise de Quengo - a noblewoman who died in 1656.

"We've got soft tissue - organs - to work with. This is unprecedented in archaeology," forensic doctor Fabrice Dedouit said.

The body of the woman - still wearing her cap and shoes - was found in 2014.

It was discovered at a construction site for a convention centre.

'Husband's' heart

The forensic team says a post-mortem examination and scans showed "significant kidney stones" and "lung adhesions", according to the AFP news agency.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A series of scans and a post-mortem have been performed by the forensic team

The woman's heart was also taken out "with real surgical mastery", say the scientists.

The woman is believed to have been in her 60s when she died.

The remains were discovered in a lead sarcophagus in March last year.

The heart of Toussaint de Perrein - believed to be the woman's husband - was found in a heart-shaped urn nearby.

There were about 800 other graves at the site, but they only contained skeletons.

The scientists say the clothes on the woman's body have been restored and are expected to be put on display.

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