Skeletons holding hands were among the skeletal remains recently discovered in an English county, but this rare discovery isn’t exactly unique. A similarly positioned couple was found in Romania one year earlier, for example. Now a group of archaeologists has uncovered a kindred couple in an English grave site. CNN reported the skeletons holding hands were two of 11 bodies buried beneath the lost chapel of St. Morell in Leicestershire that were excavated by University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) just last week.
Romanian archaeologists excavating a cemetery in Cluj-Napoca in 2013 were shocked to discover two skeletons holding hands, and at least one other couple sharing a single grave was found in Leicester, England in the past. But why? That’s what archaeologists would like to know.
The recently unearthed skeletons were carbon dated to determine their age. According to New York Daily News, the skeletons have been holding hands for 700 years. Although their shared grave was large enough to accommodate two bodies without touching, the bodies had been arranged with their fingers intertwined on purpose sometime in the 14th century, ULAS project manager Vicki Score spoke about the find.
“We have seen similar skeletons before from Leicester where a couple has been buried together in a single grave. The main question we find ourselves asking is why were they buried up there?”
The earlier discovery of Romanian skeletons holding hands was made in a medieval Dominican convent cemetery. The man’s sternum had been broken, causing researchers to believe that he had died from an accident. However, the cause of the woman’s death could not be determined, leading researchers to speculate that she may have died from a heart attack or a stroke, reported Huffington Post. Some people theorized she died from a broken heart.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a 6,500-year-old skeleton was rediscovered in the basement of a museum after nearly a century. The ancient bones were found in storage in the basement of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology earlier this year after a 2012 project to digitize old records uncovered documentation for the rediscovery.
The museum skeleton was discovered in 1930 by British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley and his team. It was sent to England before making its way to Pennsylvania. Although Woolley’s own records indicated that he had forwarded the human remains to Penn Museum, the documentation was mislaid until recently.
The skeletons holding hands have been removed from the site where they were found; there is no word on whether the couple was separated after 700 years side by side.
[Image via University of Leicester Archaeological Services]