5,800 couple in embrace

5,800 couple in embrace


Archaeologists in southern Greece have discovered the grave of a man and woman buried as they died some 5,800 years ago — still tightly embracing.

A senior member of the excavation team, Anastassia Papathanassiou, says the discovery — made in 2013 and publicized this week after DNA testing determined each skeleton’s sex — is the oldest of its kind in Greece. She says the couple most likely died holding each other.

“A senior member of the excavation team, Anastassia Papathanassiou, says the discovery — made in 2013 and publicized this week after DNA testing determined each skeleton’s sex — is the oldest of its kind in Greece. She says the couple most likely died holding each other.”

Papathanassiou told The Associated Press on Friday that the remains of the couple, estimated to be in their 20s, were found near the Alepotrypa Cave, an important prehistoric site.

The Greek Culture Ministry spoke with Discovery about the find.

“Double burials in embrace are extremely rare,” the ministry said. “The skeletons of Diros represent one of the oldest, if not the oldest, found to this date.”

ancient-origins.net describes the site:

The Diros Caves are a series of caves located in Pirgos Diros, which are among the most important natural sites in Greece and are famous for their spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. After the caves were discovered in the 1950s, it was soon realized that they had been used extensively as a shelter, dwelling, workshop, storage area, burial site, and place of worship during the Neolithic period. The known part of the caves cover an area of around 33,000 square meters of which only 5000 square meters have been explored to date.

It’s unclear how they died and whether they were related, but Papathanassiou says further DNA testing should answer the latter question.

 5,800 couple in embrace 2 The couple most likely died together.

5,800 couple in embrace 2 The couple most likely died together.