Romeo and Juliet of the Neolithic Age

“Lovers of Valdaro” – two human skeletons that were found in 2007 in the Neolithic burial in Italy. Apparently, these two died, looking into each other’s eyes and clutching each other in love embraces.

For 6000 years they lay in eternal embraces, hidden from prying eyes. Despite the fact that the age of the skeletons is 6000 years, the “Lovers of Valdaro” gained fame only 10 years ago, when their buried remains were discovered near Mantua, in the northern part of Lombardy.

While excavating in the city of Valdaro, a team of archaeologists led by Elena Maria Menotti discovered a double burial: a young man and a girl of no more than 20 years lying opposite each other – before their death their hands entwined in embraces.


Skeletons of two lovers from Valdarro

No less surprising is the fact that the double burials of the Neolithic times are extremely rare, and similar “embraces” and in general are a unique phenomenon. The find of “lovers” was accompanied by a stormy reaction from the public, especially considering that they found them before Valentine’s Day.

So how did they die?

Scientists could not find the cause of death of this couple, but in the media and social networks decided that they still symbolize Romeo and Juliet, who, as you know, committed suicide in order not to be separated.

The theory is supported by the fact that the story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet starts next to Verona, and also because Romeo was banished to Mantua, where he learned that Juliet was dead. Another sad story of two lovers from the opera Rigoletto by Giuseppo Verdi was also staged in Mantua.


“Romeo and Juliet”, Henry Pierre Picot.

However, subsequent studies did not reveal any signs that the “lovers” committed suicide. Elena Maria Menotti, head of the excavation, said:

“We have never before found the remains of a man and a woman in embraces, this is a truly unique find. We met many women clinging to their children, but we did not see such couples, especially in embraces – they really embrace each other. It is possible that the man died first, and the woman was killed later, to accompany his soul to the afterlife. The primary analysis of the skeletons shows that they are young, because their teeth are still in good condition, but we still sent the remains to the laboratory for a thorough examination to pinpoint their age at the time of death. Their arms and legs are intertwined, they really embrace. ”

The archaeological value of this finding can not be overestimated

In addition to romantic interpretations, these remains serve as one of the most significant finds of the Neolithic times, as Menotti, happily agitated, recalled:

“I’m just excited about this discovery. I had to participate in many excavations, but I have never met anything like this in my entire career. And I’ve been doing this thing for 25 years. I led excavations in Pompeii, including all popular places and attractions. But nothing struck me as deeply and deeply as the two. ”


Photo skulls of “lovers” – it looks as if they are still looking into each other’s eyes.

Despite the fact that this is not the only burial of two or more people, double graves in this period are extremely rare, and the position in which the “lovers” are located makes the find even more unique. Experts after the initial examination could determine that the man and woman were not only young, but also had extremely low growth (especially a man) – and he, and she is 158 cm tall.

Experts also found that the man had an arrow in his back, and a woman had a head in the side. The researchers also suggest that 5000 years ago the territory around Mantua was covered with swamps and crossed by rivers, and the conditions for the preservation of the remains were almost ideal.

Their mystery and can remain unsolved, but the “lovers” still found a new home

Perhaps scientists will not be able to find the cause of their death, but today many tourists go to Spain to look at the most ancient and, perhaps, the most romantic couple.

Look at the remains of the “Lovers of Valdaro” live only in 2011 at the entrance to the Archaeological Museum of Mantua. However, the nickname “Lovers from Mantua” got accustomed quite quickly and people advocated that the “lovers” are allocated a separate place in the museum – and now everyone can see “Lovers of Valdaro” in this museum, where they were placed for permanent storage under high-strength glass.