Archaeologists have found two embraced skeletons about 1,500 years old in northern China, according to a publication in the scientific journal “International Journal of Osteoarchaeology”.
It is the first couple found embraced in this way in China, said Qian Wang, the study’s lead author and an associate professor in the department of Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University School of Dentistry.
Couple burials are not rare in China, but this one, specifically, is purposely placed to show affection between the two.
Illustration by Anqi Wang shows how the couple must have been buried — Photo: Anqi Wang/Courtesy
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The skeletons are from people who lived in the Wey dynasty, which dominated the region between 386 and 534.
“At that time, China was quite liberal — there were both free marriages (where men chose women or women chose men) and arranged marriages,” Wang told the G1.
sacrifice for burial together
It could be that the woman sacrificed herself to be buried with her husband, according to researchers.
Scientists say the man and woman are unlikely to have died at the same time — there are no signs of violence, disease or poisoning. Perhaps the man died before, and the woman sacrificed herself so they could be buried together. The opposite could also have happened, but her skeleton was in a better state.
First burial like this one discovered in China
The man was about six feet tall and had a broken arm, missing a part of a finger on his right hand and a bone spur. It is estimated that he died when he was between 29 and 35 years old.
The woman was 1.57 meters tall and had no bone problems when she died. She must have been between 35 and 40 years old.
“This is an exceptionally well preserved grave. Preservation depends on many factors, such as the shape of the tomb and environmental conditions. This is the first burial of a couple in an embrace found anywhere at any time in China, and the first to be scientifically described in the world,” says Wang.
Below is a video of two 1,600-year-old skeletons found in Modena, Italy, found in 2011. In 2019, they were discovered to be two males.
Researchers find that “The Lovers of Modena” skeletons are men