Romanian archeologists uncover Romeo & Juliet: medieval couple buried together with hands clasped

Archeologists investigating the site of a former Dominican monastery in Cluj have uncovered a remarkable tale of love, preserved in the bones of a medieval grave. Two skeletons, of a young man and a woman, were found clearly buried together with their hands clasped for eternity.

Dubbed Romeo and Juliet by the archeological team, the couple are thought to have lived between 1450 and 1550, as the grave’s position and proximity to the monastery are typical of this period.

Lead archeologist Adrian Rusu said that several graves from the period had been found in what was the courtyard of the monastery, including the couple buried together. The remains belonged to “a young couple of around 30 years of age, a man and a woman buried together, facing each other and holding hands. It’s a strange case, a sort of Romeo and Juliet. The man appears to have died in an accident, as the sternum was broken by a blow from a blunt object and the woman buried with him could have had a heart attack on hearing the news, there isn’t really any other explanation for her death,” said Adrian Rusu.

The archeologist’s comments paint a fascinating picture, a young man killed tragically in an accident and his lover dies of a broken heart and joins him in the grave. The couple died between 50 and 150 years before Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, but the story the great dramatist based his play on had been around in the previous centuries.

The skeleton of a child was also found in the area and a fourth incomplete skeleton was also uncovered by the team from the Archeology Institute and the Cluj National History Museum. The archeological dig is part of arestoration project being carried out at the medieval monastery.

Adapted from Romania-Insider