These human remains were unearthed in 1972 at the Teppe Hasanlu archaeological site, located in the Solduz Valley in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran. The site was burned after a military attack. People from both fighting sides were killed in the fire, which apparently spread quite unexpectedly and quickly through the town. The skeletons were found in a plaster grain bin, probably hiding from soldiers, and they almost certainly asphyxiated quickly. The “head wound” is actually from modern-day excavators.
The image depicts two human skeletons, seemingly in an embrace, which earned the photograph its title The 2800 Years Old Kiss. Though many sources identify the skeletons as both being male, according to “The Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran” by Muhammad A. Dandamaev, Vladimir G. Lukonin, Philip L. Kohl published by Cambridge University Press, the skeletons are male and female (female on the left). Archaeology magazine also identifies them as male and female with the additional information of their height (around 5 foot 2 inches each).
The 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. Some sources claim that skeletons, appearing to kiss each other, were buried 6,000 years ago, but that’s not true. The archaeologist who studied the skeletons confirms they were there since 2,800 years ago. The University of Pennsylvania has determined that the couple died together around 800 BC. 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).
Teppe Hasanlu, located in northwest Iran is a very famous archaeological site of an ancient city and was excavated in ten seasons between 1956 and 1974 by a team from the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania and the Metropolitan Museum of New York. Many valuable artifact were unearthed, including this eternal couple.