This archaeological discovery captures a snapshot of a tender and very human moment between these two people.
The Teppe Hasanlu is an archaeological site of an ancient city located in northwest Iran. The site was inhabited continuously from the 6th millennium BC to the 3rd century AD and was excavated for ten seasons between 1956 and 1974 by a team of researchers from the Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania and the Metropolitan Museum. One discovery made by the team that is still shrouded in mystery is the Hasanlu lovers.
Found together in a bin of plaster covered mudbrick during excavations in 1972, these intertwined skeletons date to the destruction of Hasanlu (ca. 800 BCE). The evocative position in which they were found has led to speculation about their identities and relationship to each other.
The two are close together facing each other. The skeleton on the left appears to be reaching out its right hand to touch the face of the skeleton on the right. They both have their arms around each other. Curiously, there were no objects found with these individuals with the exception of a stone slab in the bin that is under their heads. Both skeletons have evidence of trauma on their bodies sustained at or around the time of their death.
How the two came to be in the bin is unknown, but perhaps they were hiding there as a place of refuge during the final sacking of Hasanlu. Though their story will forever remain uncovered, one thing is for sure: they loved each other and even death couldn’t tear them apart.