The remains of a human skull found in a 1,400-year-old tomb in China possibly belonged to a man of European origin, an initial investigation by scientists revealed on Sunday.
The skull was found in the M1401 tomb in Guyuan City in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
"The man had a protruding nasal bone and a sunk nasion, which are typical features of Europeans," said Zhang Quanchao, professor with the Research Center for Chinese Frontier Archaeology of Jilin University.
Zhang believes the skull belonged to a 40-year-old man of European origin.
Further excavation is needed for a firm conclusion, he said.
"If we can find his teeth and more bones, we will have a more precise judgement about his age," he said.
The tomb was first discovered in the 1980s. Illegal excavation was reported this year, and archaeologists began to unearth the tomb in June for protection.
More than 40 clay figures, copper coins and a number of murals were found in the tomb, according to Zhu Cunshi, head of the archaeological team.
Zhu said the tomb was built in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907).
Ningxia is along the ancient Silk Road that connected China with Europe through commerce.