The two skeletons unearthed last week will be scooped out of the earth together to undergo tests before going on display in the northern Italian city of Mantua, archaeologists said Tuesday.
|©AP Photo/Archaeological Society SAP, ho
|This file photo provided by the Archaeological Society SAP in Mantua, northern Italy, on Wednesday, Feb, 7, 2007 shows a pair of human skeletons found Monday Feb. 6 at a construction site outside Mantua
The pair, buried between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago in the late Neolithic period, are believed to be a man and a woman who died young, because their teeth were found intact. Archaeologists have hailed the find, saying that double burials from that period are rare and none have been found in such a touching pose.
The burial was unearthed on the outskirts of Mantua during construction work. The site is located just 40 kilometres south of Verona, the city where Shakespeare set the story of "Romeo and Juliet" and the discovery fuelled musings in the media about prehistoric love.
Archaeologists also said there was little doubt the couple's pose was born of a deep love, but warned it would be almost impossible to determine the exact nature of their relationship and how they died.
Mantua's archaeological office said in a statement Tuesday that, in some cases of the period, the wife would be sacrificed when her husband died and buried with him. However, the statement said that "at the current stage of research" there was no evidence that this was what happened to the Mantua pair.
After undergoing lab tests, the couple are to be displayed at Mantua's Archaeological Museum, the statement said.
The discovery was made in a region rich in Neolithic treasures, including some 30 burial sites, all single, as well as the remains of prosperous villages filled with artifacts made of flint, pottery and animal horns.