February 7, 2007 / 4:09 PM / in 12 years

Eternal embrace? Couple still hugging 5,000 years on

A pair of human skeletons lie in an eternal embrace at an Neolithic archaeological dig site near Mantova, Italy, in this photo released February 6, 2007. REUTERS/Enrico Pajello/Handout

ROME (Reuters) - Call it the eternal embrace.

Archaeologists in Italy have discovered a couple buried 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, hugging each other.

“It’s an extraordinary case,” said Elena Menotti, who led the team on their dig near the northern city of Mantova.

“There has not been a double burial found in the Neolithic period, much less two people hugging — and they really are hugging.”

Menotti said she believed the two, almost certainly a man and a woman although that needs to be confirmed, died young because their teeth were mostly intact and not worn down.

“I must say that when we discovered it, we all became very excited. I’ve been doing this job for 25 years. I’ve done digs at Pompeii, all the famous sites,” she told Reuters.

“But I’ve never been so moved because this is the discovery of something special.”

A laboratory will now try to determine the couple’s age at the time of death and how long they had been buried.

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