Greek archaeologists find remains of embracing couple in Neolithic tomb

The remains of a man and woman locked in an embrace, which were found at an archaeological site near the Diros Caves in the Peloponnese, constitute a “stunning discovery” dating to around 3,800 BC, the head of the dig has told Kathimerini.

“It is possibly the oldest grave to have ever been found,” according to Giorgos Papathanassopoulos, who has led excavation work at the Diros site since the 1970s. “It is the most stunning discovery,” he added, noting that the fact the couple were buried together indicated the importance given to the institution of family after death in ancient times.

The remains, which were unearthed last year and in 2013, were analyzed using radiocarbon dating. The results of the analysis, which were made public last week, showed that the bones belonged to a man and a woman, both aged between 20 and 25.

Archaeologists were also studying the remains of another couple whose remains were found in an adjacent grave to the one containing the embracing pair. The second couple are believed to be older and were found buried in a more “conventional” fashion, Papathanassopoulos said.

The fact that an ossuary and several ceramic urns, beads and other offerings were found in the grave points to “an organized society,” he said.