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The Lovers of Valdaro

For 6,000 years, two young lovers have been locked in an eternal embrace, hidden from the eyes of the world. The “Lovers of Valdaro” — named for the little village near Mantua, in Northern Italy, where they were first discovered — were seen by the public for the first time in September of 2011.

The lovers are in fact two human skeletons, dating back to the Neolithic era, which were found in a necropolis in the nearby village of Valdaro in 2007, huddled close together, face to face, their arms and legs entwined. They were displayed at the entrance of Mantua Archeological Museum, thanks to the effort of the association, “Lovers of Mantua,” which is seeking a permanent home for the ancient couple.

After the discovery, many thought that the couple had been killed. It would fit in well with the history of an Italian region famous for many tragic love stories. Mantua is the city where Romeo was exiled and was told that his Juliet was dead. The composer Giuseppe Verdi chose it as the location for his opera Rigoletto, another story of star-crossed love and death.

But subsequent research revealed that the skeletons did not have any signs of a violent death. They were a woman and a man, between 18 and 20 years old. Some have wondered if they died together, holding each other in a freezing night. Professor Silvia Bagnoli, the president of the association “Lovers in Mantua,” doesn’t exclude this possibility, but says that more likely the skeletons were laid out in that position after their deaths.

 

Valdaro Lovers

The so-called Lovers of Valdaro, also dubbed as the “Valdaro Lovers,” are a pair of human skeletons dating back 6,000 years discovered by archaeologists at a Neolithic tomb in S.Giorgio near Mantova, Italy, in 2007. The two skeletons appear to have died or were interred facing each other with arms around each other, thus reminiscent of a “lovers’ embrace”. Archaeologist Elena Maria Menotti led the excavation. Scientists believe that the pair is a man and woman no older than 20 years old and approximately 5'2" in height. They were removed from the ground intact and sent to Musei Civici in Como where they are undergoing analysis.

6,000 Years Later, the 'Lovers of Valdaro' Need a New Home

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For 6,000 years, two young lovers have been locked in an eternal embrace, hidden from the eyes of the world. This past weekend, the Lovers of Valdaro — named for the little village near Mantua, in northern Italy, where they were first discovered — were seen by the public for the first time.

The lovers are in fact two human skeletons, dating back to the Neolithic era; they were found in a necropolis in the nearby village of Valdaro in 2007, huddled close together, face to face, their arms and legs entwined. They were displayed this past weekend at the entrance of Mantua’s Archaeological Museum, thanks to the effort of the association Lovers in Mantua, which is seeking a permanent home for the ancient couple. Read more.

The “Lovers of Valdaro”. The neolithic man and woman are each around 20 years of age, the man having been killed by an apparent arrow wound (the arrowhead sitting near the spine). There are knives around and under the female, but it is unknown as to whether or not the knives killed her, or whether they were part of a burial ceremony. They are embracing, and this is an image that is both eternal and striking.

One thing I would absolutely love to see is the ‘Lovers of Valdaro’. They’re still doing tests and all that shizz on them, but it's definitely on my list of things to see in my life. It will obviously be exhibited in Italy, but I would have no problem whatsoever travelling to see it.