The iconic pair of skeletons were unearthed in 1972 at the Teppe Hasanlu archaeological site, located in the Solduz Valley in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran. The archeological site was discovered in 1972 in the Teppe Hasanlu in northwestern Iran, an ancient city which has been violently burned in the end of the ninth century B.C. The leading archaeologist, Robert Dyson wrote:
‘Lying in the bottom of the bin were two human skeletons, a male and a female. The male had one of its arms under the shoulder of the female, while the female was looking into the face of the male and reaching out with one hand to touch his lips. Both were young adults. Neither showed any evidence of injury; there were no obvious cuts or broken bones. There were no objects with the skeletons, but under the female’s head was a stone slab. The other contents of the bin consisted of broken pieces of plaster, charcoal, and small pieces of burned brick but nothing heavy enough to crush the bones”.
They died together around 800 B.C., during the destruction of the Teppe Hasanlu citadel, probably of asphyxiation.
The archaeologist who studied the skeletons confirms they were there since 2,800 years ago. The skeletons do appear like they are kissing each other before they died – as if to signify that love is eternal.
The original source of this image is the Penn Museum and officially named “The Lovers”. Its description in the museum label reads:
“The Lovers” from 1972 season at Hasanlu.
Hasanlu is an archaeological excavation site in Iran, Western Azerbaijan, Solduz Valley. Theses skeletons were found in a bin with no objects. The only feature is a stone slab under the head of the skeleton on the left hand side (SK335).
featured image©Penn Museum