The 'Lovers of Valdaro' Are the Most 'Awwww' Skeletons in History

The 'Lovers of Valdaro' Are the Most 'Awwww' Skeletons in History

In 2008, archeologists digging around in Italy made a startling discovery: Two skeletons, around 6,000 years old, locked in an actual eternal embrace:

Dagmar Hollmann/Wiki Commons

Considering how often people died in severely uncomfortable ways back then, you'd think corpses clutching each other for dear, uh, you know, would be all over the place. Yet, it's actually really uncommon to find a double burial from that time -- especially in such a position. Cavemen just weren't that sentimental. These two, confirmed to be a man and woman between 18 and 20 years old when they died, appeared to be the exception, proving that teenagers have always been dramatic.

It was thought that they might have huddled together for warmth as they died of hypothermia, but since they were found near the location of Romeo's exile, comparisons to Romeo and Juliet and theories about a more Shakespearean death were thrown around as well. That, combined with the fact that they were found just a few days before Valentine's Day, melted the archeologists' icy scientific hearts, who refused to excavate them under the standard protocol because it would have meant separating them. Instead, they dug up the entire clump of dirt, which has remained intact throughout the next decade of study and display.

Under further examination, though, the situation might not have been as romantic as initially assumed. No sign of traumatic death was evident despite quite a number of weapons that were found with the bodies, leading researchers to believe that the two didn't just drop dead right there but rather were formally buried with grave gifts. That means they were probably positioned that way after their deaths. It's still possible that they were a passionate young couple whose families decided they should be as together as possible forever, kind of like how we mix people's ashes together today, but they also could have just thought it would be hilarious to arrange them in a suggestive position in a Can't Hardly Wait-style prank. Maybe it was some kind of "ghost marriage" situation. Those theories would devastate goth girls everywhere, though, so let's go with the Romeo and Juliet thing.

Image: Dagmar Hollmann/Wikimedia Commons

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