Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Western Han Dynasty Mummies Undressed

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

BEIJING, CHINA—The clothing has been removed from four 2,200-year-old mummies that were discovered in northwest China in 2007, at a site where more than 30 tombs have yielded mummies, silk, wool, and an artificial leg. The four bodies, which normally dry out in the dry climate, had been badly damaged by floods and mudslides. “We have to separate the outfits from the mummies before there is nothing left,” said Xu Dongliang of the Academia Turfanica. The man, two women, and a child had been buried wearing woolen pants, knitted mantles, fabric coats, silk scarves, and sheepskin boots.