Archaeologists Discovered Fully Dressed 350-Year-Old Body

Archaeologists set to work excavating the site at the Convent of the Jacobins in Rennes, France in 2014. The site contained roughly 800 graves and five coffins—one of which contained a surprising discovery.

When they pried open the fifth coffin, the team found the well-preserved, 350-year-old body of noblewoman Louise de Quengo. The remains were so securely intact that the body was still fully clothed in a wool dress, cape, bonnet, and shoes.

Perhaps even more remarkably, the team was able to identify the body because of inscriptions on a nearby lead reliquary containing the heart of her husband, Toussaint de Perrien, Knight of Brefeillac, who died in 1649. De Quengo died a few years later in 1656. She was in her 60s.

While the hermetically sealed coffin kept the body well-maintained for hundreds of years, the team knew that state would begin to deteriorate immediately in the open air.

Archaeologist Rozenn Colleter, of the National Institute for Preventative Archaeological Research, told The Guardian, “But we had to move quickly because once the coffin was opened it sets off the decomposition process again after 350 years. We had 72 hours to bring the body down to four degrees to preserve everything.”

An autopsy showed De Quengo had kidney stones and “lung adhesions,” and scientists believed she died from an infection. Her heart, like her husband's, had been removed.

De Quengo was later reburied in Rennes.

26 Fascinating Facts About Fossils

Mental Floss via YouTube
Mental Floss via YouTube

If you’ve never visited the Big Bone Room, you’re in luck. Check out our visit to New York City's American Museum of Natural History for a rundown on fossils, which provide invaluable insight into our understanding of history and its once-living occupants.

In this edition of "The List Show," editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy explains the ins and outs of excavation, fossil follies (extinct giants were a big miss), and the terrorizing prospect of a 3-foot-tall parrot.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

2000-Year-Old Roman Tweezers and Metal Ear Swab Discovered in UK

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The ancient Romans took hygiene seriously. They pioneered indoor plumbing, deodorant, and the practice of bathing daily. A recent discovery made at a bridge construction site in the UK reinforces just how committed to cleanliness the Roman civilization was. As Geek.com reports, workers unearthed an ear cleaner and a pair of tweezers thought to date back 2000 years to the Roman Empire.

The artifacts were dug up by the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation at the location of the new Springhead Bridge in Ebbsfleet Garden City, a development in Kent. One small tool appears to be designed for pinching and plucking small items just like modern-day tweezers. The other object is thought to have been built for cleaning ears—but instead of cotton, the "swab" is made entirely of metal. They're thought to date back thousands of years, but scientific analysis will need to be done to determine the exact age.

Grooming items weren't the only artifacts uncovered at the site. Workers also found a piece of timber believed to have been meant for an ancient structure. The Ebbsfleet River, where the new bridge is being built, was once a shipping hub and a Roman settlement called Vagniacis. Historical finds are so common in the area that the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation employs full-time archaeologists.

The personal hygiene tools have been removed from the archaeological site by experts who will study them to learn more about their origins. The fate of the artifacts is unclear, but the construction company behind the discovery hopes they can remain in the same city where they were found.

[h/t Geek.com]

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