Teppe Hasanlu, in northwestern Iran, is a famous archaeological site of a city that was excavated in 10 seasons between 1956 and 1974 by a team from the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania and the Metropolitan Museum.
Over the years many findings of great historical value have been discovered, including a couple called “The Lovers”, which symbolizes eternal love.
There are some very rare cases in which burials are occupied by two people, often due to catastrophic events such as wars or natural disasters. The two skeletons of Hasanlu, in Iran, are part of this narrow category, and have become famous in the world because of their kiss, made eternal precisely by the position in which the two unknown protagonists found their death.
The skeleton on the right is lying on its back, and dental evidence suggest this was a boy, possibly 19-22 years of age, while the skeleton on the left has been aged to about 30-35 years.
Archaeologists speculate that the two lovers have taken refuge to escape from the flames of the city set on fire, and that they are dead, asphyxiated by smoke, in this position. The skull of one of the two skeletons is evidently broken, but the hole is the result of the excavation operations and not of traumas suffered by the man still alive.
The Hasanlu Lovers were found by a team from the University of Pennsylvania led by Robert Dyson in 1972, and since then the photograph of the two skeletons has represented one of the most cited to represent a symbol of “eternal” love. On some sites it has been reported that the skeletons are 6,000 years old, but the dating to carbon 14 operated by the University of Pennsylvania places them in about 800 BC.