The Frontal Cortex

Embracing Skeletons

It doesn’t get much more romantic than this:


This pair of embracing human skeletons was found at a Neolithic archaeological dig site near Mantova, Italy, in this photo released by Reuters on February 6, 2007. Archaeologists believe the couple was buried 5000-6000 years ago, their arms wrapped around each other.

Update: This is from the AP:

Buried between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago, the prehistoric pair are believed to have been a man and a woman and are thought to have died young, as their teeth were found intact, said Elena Menotti, the archaeologist who led the dig.

“As far as we know, it’s unique,” Menotti told The Associated Press by telephone from Milan. “Double burials from the Neolithic are unheard of, and these are even hugging.”

The burial site was located Monday during construction work for a factory building in the outskirts of Mantua. Alongside the couple, archaeologists found flint tools, including arrowheads and a knife, Menotti said.

Experts will now study the artifacts and the skeletons to determine the burial site’s age and how old the two were when they died, she said.

[Hat Tip: Steve]


  1. #1 J-Dog
    February 7, 2007

    Or possibly they both fell into a pit while the woman was strangling the male for losing their entire nest egg by betting all their carefully hoarded shells on the Cave Bears to beat the Eohippus in the Paleolithic Bowl.

  2. #2 Mark
    February 7, 2007

    Joking aside, it would be interesting to know what really happened. Were the skeletons’ sexes determined?

  3. #3 Ukko
    February 7, 2007

    Mark that is really an important question! Dated to 6000 years ago — this could be the proverbial Adam and Steve!

  4. #4 jb
    February 7, 2007

    Wow. I’m using that in my valentine card to my guy of 37+ years. We probably won’t get to go while holding on like that, but the evidence that those two did is evidence that love really does go on… I cried when I saw it, so it survived long enough to reach me.


  5. #5 KATHIE
    February 14, 2007

    Our Anniversary is Valentine’s Day. What a terrific idea to use the “embracing skeletons” photo for a valentine!

  6. #6 Isabeluz
    February 14, 2007

    The picture really impacted me…and teeth intact? Now, I would like to know if they were buried alive? the motion I can perceive from their embrace is too natural to think that it could have been staged after death…

  7. #7 Adam
    June 17, 2007

    The first thought that came to my mind was the ultimate cliche but the one that everyone secretly wants it to be: Adam & Eve… why not? Even if unlikely… they were created together, they lived together, and maybe they died together… so why not enjoy the thought that we found them? I think I will! Ciao!

  8. #8 christina
    June 28, 2007

    This made me cry..i’ve always said i would prefer to die in the arms of the man i love than to die alone..and these two are proof that love really can last for eternity…by the way i’m getting this tatted on my back

  9. #9 Megalith
    November 15, 2007

    Very interesting. I wonder what context the dagger & arrows were found.daggers are often found with male burials, but occasionally when arrows are found in a grave of this date they were not placed there as grave goods but were embedded in the buried bodies.
    I noticed someone wondering about the skeletons’ teeth. Quite often ancient burials have nice-looking if worn, strong white teeth–dental decay wasn’t such a problem because of the diet. However, absesses, boils and gum disease were problems, and in the case of absesses could be fatal.

  10. #10 Kev
    August 11, 2008

    I understand your feelings, Christina. I’m going to get the image of these two skeletons tattooed onto my eyelids.

  11. #11 Amelia21
    August 11, 2008

    Kev, that’s a beautiful suggestion and would be a wonderful tribute to these two lovers. You are such a sensitive man.

  12. #12 Francois
    August 11, 2008

    Your mocking tone is not appreciated on this thread Kev, when the rest of us are trying to enjoy this beautiful image of bones entwined for eternity.

  13. #13 Kev
    August 11, 2008

    It’s done. I have one skeleton on one eyelid and another on the other. Now they are only together when I sleep, or momentarily when I blink. I get these terrible nightmares now though about Jason and the Argonauts.

  14. #14 Dr. Bones
    September 5, 2008

    WAIT! Everyone hold off on those tattoos! There’s pelvic evidence that we might have a couple of prehistoric fruits here…

  15. #15 Mallory
    September 23, 2008

    Did anyone ever stop to think that maybe these “fruits” were brothers????

  16. #16 KRM
    October 5, 2008

    I don’t think they were brothers, there’s no gold chains, teeth, or bling anything…

  17. #17 jeff
    December 6, 2008

    KRM… i was in awe of how touching this picture is..readin along and getting more intrigued….then the brother comment… i laughed so hard… good one

  18. #18 Susie
    February 14, 2009

    Makes me cry just like the movie Notebook did…

  19. #19 Joe
    August 21, 2009

    Now it’s completely ruined. I cried, I laughed and I threw up in my mouth a little. Perfection.

  20. #20 jk
    September 9, 2009

    Did you just state the ruin is in ruins?

  21. #21 Candi
    February 23, 2010

    I’m very interested in their findings. The comments are hilarious and touching. I think a tatt would be great. I’d love to see it. Bling -LMBO! Whew! I needed that.

  22. #22 erika
    March 25, 2010

    This is so sad! I can’t believe that these two died together! It really is a touching picture.

  23. #23 Kara Johnson
    April 19, 2010

    If they are a male and female, they could be romeo and juliet. They lived in mantua and verona.. just saying. That’d be neat.

  24. #24 C. Gutierrez
    July 18, 2010

    Kara- This would have been before Romeo and Juliet is what I read on another article.

  25. #25 bidhw
    October 6, 2010

    Not even death could stop them trying to jump bones.

  26. #26 Jakie
    October 9, 2010

    omg!they could have KILLED eachother with these tools!or they killed themselves.or possibly a person died, & his lover murdered itself to be buried with its love…Who knows?

  27. #27 debbie
    December 29, 2010

    go read saving juliet its a book. it may answer some quetions

  28. #28 Angela Lafayette
    March 7, 2011

    i think this is so romantic. they died in each others arms.

  29. #29 John Walker
    June 17, 2011

    I have just come across this story, and on the face of it, how romantic,but we need to discover more perhaps a DNA profile will tell us some of the story but not all of it. As to the identities of these people we will never know but judging by the manner in which they have been found speaks volumes.
    Love never dies.

  30. #30 Laura Cunningham
    June 27, 2011

    hope they don’t separate them to study, then lose them somewhere in a mouldy old drawer. They’ve been together this long- let them stay together.

  31. #31 Carmen
    October 21, 2011

    It is a male and female. I can tell by looking at the brow ridges,which are fairly intact.

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