Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Long Embrace

Our definitions of who we have been as human beings keep having to be revised. This story, in particular, may provoke a shift in how we understand the patterns of our evolution as a species. There has never been an example of a double burial from Neolithic cultures -- until now.

Here is the story:

Couple hug for 5,000 years

ROME - 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 said.

"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.


Anonymous said...

Amazing story, but I don't think this really will change any opinions about our evolution as a species (cultural or otherwise). It is an unusual find, but, as they are saying, of more meaning for us emotionally than scientifically: yes, people back then loved each other and expressed that affection physically. Is that a new discovery? No way. Were you thinking of this as having some meaning in terms spiral dynamics? I'm really curious as to how this might be interpreted from that viewpoint.
Great blog, by the way.

william harryman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
william harryman said...

It changes what we know about human interiors. Romantic love, and even emotional bonding, are a relatively new event in human history (2,000-3,000 years ago, but not widespread until 500-600 years ago). This discovery could take that back another 2,000 years. That's a pretty big deal.

Any time we find new information about how humans buried their dead, it changes what we know about how humans lived and how they looked at their world.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.