It does not get more morbid or beautiful than this. From the Xinhua (China) news service:
JING’AN — Chinese archaeologists exploring a 2,500-year-old tomb in east China’s Jiangxi province that contained 47 coffins in a remarkable state of preservation were stunned to discover several pieces of green crystal lodged in the bones of the skeletons in the coffins.
One of the diamond-shaped crystals was 8.5 centimeters long.
The coffins also contained bronze, gold, silk, porcelain and jade items and even body tissue.
Archaeologists said the crystals appeared to have “grown” in the bones. They pointed out that the coffins were made from halved nanmu, a rare and extremely durable wood, and covered in white plaster and a layer of loess.
The fact that the coffins were fire-heated to make them waterproof and airtight may be a factor in the creation of the crystals. Classically, crystals are formed when rocks are heated and then cool slowly over time.
Archaeologists said there were no previous records of green-colored crystals being found in tombs and said they would help scientists understand changes to the human body in different conditions.
The main coffin, weighing more than a ton, was opened at about 10 a.m. Monday. Archaeologists found a round, exquisitely-made piece of gold foil as well as a jade pendant in the shape of a dragon. Experts believe the two treasured decorative items could be symbols of the dead person’s social status or political power.
In another coffin, archaeologists found a beautifully-preserved skeleton lying on its right side.
“The coffins were tightly sealed and there was very little oxygen in there for bacteria to reproduce. This may explain why most of the skeletons are intact,” said Zhu.
The discovery will provide valuable clues to the study of social customs, funeral rites and lifestyles in the area 2,500 years ago, experts said.
No pictures, unfortunately. Meanwhile, how long do you think it’ll be until the people of Earth discover to our misfortune that the crystals are the remnants of Lovecraftian species that grafted itself onto the human hosts and that is why such elaborate steps were taken with the 47 coffins? I’m not saying that the planet is doomed by this discovery, I’m just saying if it does happen, remember you read about it here first.