Archaeologists discovering skeletons are nothing new. But these particular skeletons attracted media attention because they were holding-hands, suggesting that their romantic partners. They were unearthed in an ancient cemetery in 2009, earning the name ‘lovers of Modena’.
|Photo Credit: BBC|
However, archaeologists had a difficult time identifying their sexes due to the poor condition of the skeletons. But a new team of scientists can provide the answers. A study published in the journal Scientific Reports showed that both of the skeletons were male after analyzing their teeth enamel. The researchers discovered that both of their teeth had a protein called amelogenin isoform Y, which is found only in the enamel of males.
|Photo Credit: BBC|
According to Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture and history, the study suggests that the ‘lovers of Modena were buddies since the other skeletons found together with them have injuries. This shows that these people had fought in a war which is not hard to believe because the two men lived during the time when the Roman Empire was divided into two. The Western Roman Empire controlled Modena, which eventually fell apart due to barbarian attacks and internal unrest.
"The two 'Lovers' could have been war comrades or friends, died together during a skirmish and, thus, buried within the same grave. Alternatively, the two individuals were relatives, possibly cousins or brothers given their similar ages, sharing the same grave due to their family bond,” the researchers wrote. They also added that there’s still a possibility that the two skeletons were in a romantic relationship.
|Photo Credit: Live Science|
Same-sex relationships are not thousands of years ago. Reports showed that some previous Roman emperors having same-sex romantic relationships, openly acknowledging and celebrating them. For instance, Emperor Hadrian openly displayed his affection for his male lover Antinous. He dedicated games and sanctuaries in his honor.