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Mantova, Italy

Lovers of Valdaro

A young Italian couple has been locked in an embrace for over 6,000 years.  

Arms and legs entwined, the couple lay facing each other, comfortably ensconced in the fetal position. So comfortable, in fact, that they have stayed that way for more than 6,000 years.

In 2007, the near-perfectly preserved Neolithic-era remains of two humans were found in an archaeological site outside the Italian village of Valdaro, locked in an embrace.

Studies show that the pair, one male and one female, were not very old nor very tall at the time of their deaths, estimated as sometime between 4,000 and 5,000 BC. Research puts them between 18 and 20 years, and no more than 5’ 2.”

The romantic theory, which is not entirely unlikely, is that a young couple died holding each other on a cold winter night. The more widely accepted hypothesis suggests that they were buried in this position after their death, along with flint implements like arrows, knives, and blades.

The unusual double burial and tender positioning caused a stir when the discovery was made. The archaeologists who uncovered the remains did not want to separate the two, and the skeletons were excavated and preserved along with the block of earth around them. The eternal lovers locked in a hug, can be seen at the Archaeological Museum in Mantua, near where they were found. 

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