Archaeologists have uncovered the dramatic Bronze Age burial of a man and woman who were found embracing each other in a 3,000-year-old Ukrainian grave, with the woman believed to have willingly entered the tomb alive to be buried beside her husband.
As the Daily Mail reports, archaeologists believe that it would have been quite impossible for the woman to have been found in the position she was if she hadn’t been alive when she went into the tomb. It has been suggested that she most likely would have chosen to drink some type of poison to make her death as quick and painless as possible upon entering the tomb of the dead man.
The couple, who would have lived during the time of the flourishing Vysotskaya culture, were found buried in the village of Petrykiv, which is in western Ukraine.
As part of Mykola Bandrivsky’s task to research “loving couple burials,” the professor described how the man and woman were positioned in the Ukrainian grave, with the woman’s right arm outstretched in a loving gesture so that she could hug the man as she died beside him.
“It is a unique burial, a man and a woman lying there, hugging each other tight. Both faces were gazing at each other, their foreheads were touching. The woman was lying on her back, with her right arm she was tenderly hugging the man, her wrist lying on his right shoulder. The legs of the woman were bent at the knees – lying on the top of the men’s stretched legs.”
According to Professor Bandrivsky, near the top of the couple archaeologists recovered a small assortment of ancient pottery, while the man and woman themselves were found to be adorned in clothing that was fashioned with different bronze decorations.
“Both the dead humans were clad in bronze decorations, and near the heads was placed some pottery items – a bowl, a jar and three bailers.”
Those who lived during the time of the Vysotskaya culture shared a very specific ideal, with women commonly believing that their natural place was beside their men, with this continuing on even into death and the afterlife, as this 3,000-year-old Ukrainian burial vividly demonstrates.
As Professor Bandrivsky explained, there could have been many reasons why the woman in the tomb would have chosen to kill herself and be buried alongside her already-dead husband. Probably the biggest and most obvious reason was that she loved him and didn’t want to be with anyone else after his death.
“Maybe, the woman did not want to live with some other man, and get used to some new way of life. So she preferred to pass away with her husband. We suppose such a decision was dictated only by her own desire, and her attempt to stay with her beloved one.”
Bandrivsky further described how common it was in this ancient Ukrainian culture for a couple to be buried together in the same grave, which was quite unlike what happened in other areas of Europe at the time.
“It is interesting that in other parts of Europe dead men and women in couple burials were laid next to each other. But in the Vysotskaya culture, the couples in double graves were arranged in a way to demonstrate the tenderness and greatest sympathy towards each other.”
While it appears to have been the norm in this ancient Bronze Age culture to have been buried beside a loved one, this 3,000-year-old Ukrainian burial is perhaps more memorable as the woman chose to willingly go to her death after her husband was buried.