Construction workers in China were shocked to discover a centuries-old coffin containing an extremely well-preserved male corpse.

The man is thought to have died sometime during the Ming (1368 to 1644 AD) or Qing (1644 to 1912) dynasties.

He was unearthed in Zhizhu village, Anhua County in China’s Hunan province dressed in fine fabrics and laid to rest with his favourite fan.

Limestone and fine wood was used to build his coffin, which acted a preservative for the body.

China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage say they believe the man was a noble or at least came from a rich background.

The mountain he was found is thought to belong to a family surnamed Wang.

According to officials, the burial site was accidentally unearthed by an excavator. It’s thought to be the first well-preserved body from the Ming or Qing dynasty in that town.

According to an expert, it’s thought that the texture of the coffin and the tomb has helped keep the corpse relatively intact.

It has since been removed from the site and will be studied. However in ancient Chinese culture it is considered bad luck to open a coffin.

Construction at the work site has since been halted and the cultural heritage administration may even ask the firm to suspend works indefinitely.

Officials have not commented on whether they have traced any of the man’s living descendants, despite being able to identify his family name as well as the location he was buried. 

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