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]


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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.

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

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

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.


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

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...

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!

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

By christina (not verified) on 27 Jun 2007 #permalink

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

By Dr. Bones (not verified) on 04 Sep 2008 #permalink

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

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

Makes me cry just like the movie Notebook did...

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

Did you just state the ruin is in ruins?

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.

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

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.

By Kara Johnson (not verified) on 19 Apr 2010 #permalink

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

By C. Gutierrez (not verified) on 18 Jul 2010 #permalink

Not even death could stop them trying to jump bones.

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?

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

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

By Angela Lafayette (not verified) on 06 Mar 2011 #permalink

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.

By John Walker (not verified) on 17 Jun 2011 #permalink

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.

By Laura Cunningham (not verified) on 27 Jun 2011 #permalink

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