Neolithic lovers seek new home

In February of 2007, construction workers building a warehouse in Valdaro, farm country on the outskirts of Mantua discovered a Stone Age burial site. Archaeologists excavated further and discovered a unique Neolithic double burial, a young man and woman who had died 6000 years ago and been locked in an eternal embrace ever since. The Mantua region during the Stone Age was marshland, an excellent environment for preserving skeletons, and in fact dozens of Neolithic burial sites have been found in the area. Most of them are individual burials, some mass burials, some double burials of mother and child, the occasional head buried under a dwelling, but a man and woman embracing, arms and legs interlocked, had never been found before.

The male skeleton (on the left in the picture) was found with a flint arrowhead near his neck. His lady friend had a long flint blade along her thigh, plus two flint knives under her pelvis. There was initial speculation that the weapons might have been the cause of death, like perhaps the lovers had been found mid-embrace by a jealous husband who killed them both on the spot à la Paolo and Francesca. Osteological examination found no evidence of violent death, however, no fractures, no microtrauma, so the most likely explanation is the flint tools were buried along with the people as grave goods.

After the story made the news with a myriad Stone Age Romeo and Juliet headlines, the site had to be guarded night and day to protect it from the carelessly curious and would-be looters. Plus, the landowner still wanted to build his warehouse, so archaeologists decided to remove the entire grave. To keep the couple in their entwined position, archaeologists cut away and lifted the entire section of earth in which they were entombed. The whole burial, all six and half feet cubed of it, was then taken in a box to a laboratory for further analysis.

Researchers were able to pin down their ages to between 18 and 20. Given their discovery in a necropolis, it’s unlikely that they died by accident while hugging, to keep warm during a freezing night, for instance. They were found embracing because they were positioned that way after death.

Four years later and the “Lovers of Valdaro” are finally out of the lab and on display at the Mantua Archeological Museum. It’s a short exhibit, only lasting through Sunday, arranged by an organization that is trying to raise money to make it a permanent display.

The association “Lovers in Mantua” is campaigning for their right to have a room of their own. According to [Professor Silvia] Bagnoli, 250,000 euros will be enough for an exhibition center, and another 200,000 euros could pay for a multimedia space to tell the world the mysterious story of these prehistoric lovers.


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Comment by edahstip
2011-09-13 23:37:58

Get a tomb, you two! :angry:

Comment by livius drusus
2011-09-14 00:39:39


Comment by Lizzy Bradbury
2011-09-14 05:04:33

Isn’t it weird that it costs so much money to put these two in a museum even though they are both priceless! :giggle:

Comment by aly
2012-06-01 20:51:14

this is so cute! I just wish that they would of died like that rather than be placed like that after they died! either way it’s adorable. :love:

Comment by lee
2012-06-01 20:52:39

I bet they died having sex! :giggle:

Comment by Anonymous
2012-08-13 17:37:56

I beileve this could be some amazing story … Someone just needs to find out what it is !!!! I agree on the sex thing lol:p

Comment by Joe Blow
2012-08-19 09:44:47

Please move the dateline to the top of the article. Especially in a HISTORY blog correct and clear dating is important. :hattip:

Comment by livius drusus
2012-08-19 15:19:33

The dateline is at the top of the article in every view except for the persistent link view. If it were an option, I’d gladly move the dateline to the top in this view as well, but it’s not. The theme is old and rickety, and I don’t have the coding skills necessary to hack this flaw out of it.

Comment by yasemin
2013-01-12 03:25:27


Comment by Anonymous
2013-01-26 11:42:26

don’t we all want to die this way

Comment by Gizella
2013-02-27 06:15:00

loved each other,and probably loved by many,buried with accessories,necessary at the other side….I cried a bit… :love:

Comment by Terrie Dimond
2013-03-09 17:02:29

This shows an epic love only a few people will ever have the good fortune to experience. Such intensity, admiration, warmth, and above all love forever and always.
I have this kind of love, I am blessed.

Comment by Lady Rainicorn
2013-04-17 04:49:01

Seriously?!? I did too! :cry:

Comment by Anonymous
2013-08-18 22:37:59

Priceless? -_- :no: :no: :eek: :cry: :confused:

Comment by Anonymous
2013-09-06 09:19:07

Maybe the guy killed the girl. Who knows?

Comment by Anonymous
2013-09-29 12:02:24

Please read the article again? The DID die that way

Comment by Anonymous
2013-11-27 07:58:48

It says they were positioned that way after death

Comment by Anonymous
2014-01-10 10:25:35

Lol good one

Comment by Reality
2014-01-16 17:27:29

“Everyone just needs to find out the story”. Um, and how would you sugges we do that? Speculate all you want, nobody will even know the answer.

Comment by Anonymous
2014-04-02 21:40:31

:love: :notworthy: :no: :love: :hattip: :chicken:

Comment by wendy
2014-04-09 14:58:27

Looks like to me they were attacked and knowing they were gonna die they embraced eachother weather it was in a hidden sanctioned spot or in the middle of a battle field and there were to many bodies and remains to be removed or wasnt ever discovered but for whatever reason They were left there. Cant th uhh no of a more romantic way to go than together with your lover embraced with u forever :love:

Comment by Kuri
2015-01-16 22:19:10

For some reason I always seem to think this couple was from Pompeii. I consistently look them up to remember they’re not. I’d always imagined the massive destruction being the cause of their embracing burial, but who knows now? :cool: Still adorable.

Comment by Kuri
2015-01-16 22:20:12

That emoticon was meant to be :cry:

Comment by Anonymous
2015-01-25 04:35:58

Interesting. :boogie:

Comment by Aiman Halim
2015-02-09 08:01:42

Beautiful and informative blog. :yes:

Comment by ejdalise
2017-08-07 18:30:35

I’m searching for an image of these two that I can use on my blog (non-commercial).

Could you tell me what the copyright is on the image embedded above?

Comment by Onyx
2022-03-29 19:13:16

and they were found febuary 11 2007, 3 days before valentines day <3

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