Turkey: Oldest Embracing Lovers Found in Turkey? National Geographic - October 17, 2007
Two ancient skeletons found in each other's arms in a grave in Turkey might be the oldest known embracing couple, archaeologists say. The remains, believed to be those of a 30-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman, were found last week in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir. The team carrying out the excavations found the remains under the floor of an ancient house at the Hakemi Use excavation site in Turkey's Bismil district. The researchers dated the skeletons to 6100 B.C., said team leader Halil Tekin, an archaeologist at Hacettepe University in Ankara. Tekin suggests that the couple were members of the Hassunan, an ancient culture that spread across what is now northern Iraq. If this dating is correct, the Turkish couple would be some 3,000 years older than two interlocked skeletons discovered last February near Verona, Italy.
Prehistoric Romeo and Juliet Found in Rome Live Science - February 7, 2007
Rome -- It could be humanity's oldest story of doomed love. Archaeologists have unearthed two skeletons from the Neolithic period locked in a tender embrace and buried outside Mantua, just 25 miles south of Verona, the romantic city where Shakespeare set the star-crossed tale of Romeo and Juliet. Buried between 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, the prehistoric lovers 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. Double burials from the Neolithic are unheard of, and these are even hugging. The burial site was located during construction work for a factory building in the outskirts of Mantua. Alongside the couple, archaeologists found flint tools, including arrowheads and a knife. Experts now will study the artifacts and the skeletons to determine the burial site's age and how old the two were when they died, she said.
Couple locked in an eternal embrace 5,000 years later NBC - February 7, 2007
They died young and, by the looks of it, in love. Two 5,000-year-old skeletons found locked in an embrace near the city where Shakespeare set the star-crossed tale "Romeo and Juliet" have sparked theories the remains of a far more ancient love story have been found. Archaeologists unearthed the skeletons dating back to the late Neolithic period outside Mantua, 25 miles south of Verona, the city of Shakespeare's story of doomed love. 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, because their teeth were found intact, said Elena Menotti, the archaeologist who led the dig.
Archaeologists digging in the region have found some 30 burial sites, all single, as well as the remains of prosperous villages filled with artifacts made of flint, pottery and animal horns. The Neolithic is a very formative period for our society. It was when the roots of our religious sentiment were formed. The burial was a ritual, but we have to find out what it means. Experts might never determine the exact nature of the pair's relationship, but Menotti said she had little doubt it was born of a deep sentiment. 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. The finds will then go on display at Mantua's Archaeological Museum. Establishing the cause of death could prove almost impossible, unless they were killed by a debilitating disease, a knife or something else that might have left marks on the bones, Menotti said.
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