Two well preserved bodies were discovered in an ancient tomb by a construction team in Taikang county, central China’s Henan Province last Sunday. The male body is clearly dressed in full civil servant robes, while his hair is still clear to see.
Four tombstones indicated the man's name was Gu Pu, and that he was buried 500 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. Gu Pu was the grandson of Gu Zuo – a senior official at the imperial Ming court.
But the construction team did not inform local authorities until nine p.m. that evening. Due to their delay in reporting the archaeological discovery, the tomb was reportedly severely damaged, and artifacts were taken by passers-by.
The deputy officer of the local government's culture department, surnamed Ge, confirmed a tomb was found in the county. He denied online rumors that local residents had been able to freely plunder the tomb and grab burial objects without restriction.
He also claimed the objects buried in the tomb were not valuable, as corruption and bribery were strictly forbidden during the Ming Dynasty. Even high-level civil servants would not have been buried with anything of real value when they died, according to Ge.
However, the official statement was criticized by Wang Deheng, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He indicated that it was very rare to see such a well preserved body complete with robes, and suggested the discovery was, in terms of archaeology, very valuable.
Gu’s descendants were informed several hours after the tomb was uncovered, and they could not be certain if any objects belonging to the family had been left in the tomb. Gu Xin, one of the family members, was very disappointed at the tomb being terribly destroyed.