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1,500 Year-Old Skeletons Of Embracing Couple Found In China

(Photo by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images)

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Two skeletons embracing one another were discovered in China, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

Archaeologists made the discovery in northern China, according to the South China Morning Post. The skeletons are believed to belong to a male and a female who lived between 386 to 534 A.D. This is known as the Northern Wei dynasty in China’s history. The discovery was first noted in a study published in June in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.

The discovery was made while archaeologists were excavating more than 600 tombs at a cemetery in the city of Datong, in Shanxi province, according to the Post. The man and woman were situated with each of their arms wrapped around one another’s waists. The female’s face was positioned with her head pressed against the man’s shoulder. (RELATED: Archeologists In Spain Discover Over 400 Tombs In Ancient Burial Site)

“The message was clear —h usband and wife lay together, embracing each other for eternal love during the afterlife,” write the authors in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.

This finding comes less than two months after fossils of some of the largest animals to exist in the planet’s history were discovered in China in June.

Several theories have been offered about the lives of the man and woman discovered.

“The man’s skeleton shows signs of an unhealed injury to his right arm. The woman appears to be uninjured, leading the researchers to speculate that she may have killed herself after the man’s death in order to be buried alongside him. Another possibility is that the two died at the same time, perhaps of an illness,” reported Sarah Cascone reports for Artnet News.

Qun Zhang, one of the study’s authors and anthropologist at Xiamen University, revealed to the Post that the couple was buried during an era when Buddhism was becoming more popular. People were focusing more on the afterlife as a result, according to Zhang.

“This discovery is a unique display of the human emotion of love in a burial, offering a rare glimpse of concepts of love, life, death and the afterlife in northern China during a time of intense cultural and ethnic exchange,” Zhang said.