A French archaeological research institute called Inrap released a video on Wednesday (3 June) showing the uncovering of the fully preserved corpse of a 17th century noblewoman, which was found during excavations in a Jacobin convent in the French city of Rennes.
The research institute said the 350-year old corpse, identified as a widow called Louise de Quengo, Lady of Brefeillac, was fully dressed in religious clothing, including a cape, a dress, leg warmers and shoes.
A team of archaeologists from Inrap were undertaking a rescue excavation at the convent in north-western France, which was expected to become a conference centre, when approximately 800 graves were found, including five lead coffins.
The preserved corpse was found in one of the five lead coffins, which provided archaeologists a rare insight in funeral practices for members of higher ranks of 17th century French society, Inrap said.
The remaining four coffins contained well-preserved skeletons with sawed skulls and rib cages, an embalming practice reserved for the nobility at the time, the institute said.
After the corpse was carried into an examination room, archaeologists were able to perform an autopsy, which will offer a unique insight into the health conditions of the noblewoman and her cause of death.
Inrap is expected to reveal its findings at an archaeology event in Rennes taking place between 20-21 June.