A pair of human skeletons lie entwined at an Neolithic archaeological dig site near Mantova, Italy, in a photo released February 6, 2007. In a Valentines Day gift to the country, scientists said they are determined to jointly remove and preserve the remains of the couple buried 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, their arms still wrapped around each other in an enduring embrace.
This handout picture given by the Italian cultural ministry shows a pair of human skeletons embracing at a Neolithic tomb in Valdaro-S.Giorgio near Mantova. Archeologists who found the couple 06 February say the couple could have been buried some 6000 years ago.
More importantly, it will give scientists a chance to figure out what was has become one of Italian archaeology's greatest mysteries: the first known Neolithic couple to be buried together, hugging.
Was it a sudden death? A ritual sacrifice? Or maybe they were prehistoric, star-crossed lovers who took their own lives.
That is a crowd-pleasing theory in these parts, since Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was set in nearby Verona.
But scientists acknowledge they still know precious little about the now-famous Stone Age couple, whose embrace has become a subject of world newspaper headlines and chat shows.
Italians dubbed them the "Lovers of Valdaro" after the Mantova suburb of farmland and factories. But even their gender is a open question until scientists confirm the theory that they were a man and a woman.
Archaeologists seem certain the couple died young, since their teeth are intact and that they died during the Stone Age because of an arrowhead and tools found with the remains.
But new evidence indicates the couple were not alone and that the remains may have left been near a Stone Age settlement.