In a victory for romantics everywhere, researchers in Italy have decided not to split up what now has to be the world’s most famous skeletal couple (photo credit: AP / Archaeological Society SAP). The two were buried together, embracing, between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago in what is now northern Italy.
They’re felt to be young (since they still have all their teeth), and the presumption is they were a pair of young lovers buried in a tender embrace. Of course, nobody yet knows the skeletons’ genders for sure, much less the real circumstances of their death and burial. They could just as easily be a pair of contentious siblings, buried in one last wrestling match (but I’d bet on the young lovers angle, myself).
The current plan is for the couple and the patch of ground they’re in to be removed from the discovery site in one large block, studied elsewhere, and eventually put on display in a museum. It’s kind of sad that they’ll be disturbed at all, but they were discovered in the course of construction activity, and their original resting place is slated to become a warehouse. Meanwhile, study of the couple may well teach researchers quite a lot about neolithic culture, and our ancestor’s view of relationships.