350-year-old body found fully clothed

By Lindsay de Freitas
08 June 2015

The well-preserved tomb of a 17th century French noblewoman has been discovered in Rennes, France

. The 1.45 metre long corpse is believed to be that of Louise de Quengo, wife of powerful nobleman, who died in 1656 when she was in her 60s.

According to reports she is fully clothed and much of her hair, skin and internal organs are still intact.

Researchers expected to find nothing but dust and bones when they opened the 350-year-old coffin but instead found a lot more than they had bargained for.

'It was a very beautiful discovery'

“It was a very beautiful discovery,” said Archeologist Rozenn Colleter. “We saw at once there was not just a well-preserved corpse but a mass of material that was still supple and humid”. In accordance with custom at the time she was buried with the heart of her husband, who had died before her, with her in the coffin. The corpse was also found to be wearing religious attire and clutching a crucifix, as she had probably adopted the life of a nun after the death of her husband. Her face was covered with a shroud, two bonnets and a hood and she was dressed in a cape, a wool coat and leather shoes. A postmortem revealed the woman suffered from kidney stones and what medical examiner Fabrice Dedouit had confirmed were “lung adhesions”.

According to a statement from the National Centre of Scientific Research, the study has provided a "rare insight into the funerary practices of the elite during the 17th Century".


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