Hand-holding Roman skeletons were both men, researchers discover


After 10 years of analysis, researchers have discovered that the “Lovers of Modena,” a pair of ancient skeletons who were buried holding hands, were both men.

Though the bones, which date back to between the 4th and 6th century AD, were found in a cemetery near Modena, Italy, in 2009, scientists were previously unable to establish the sex of the pair — despite repeated attempts using genetic analysis techniques — because they were not well preserved enough.

Yet a breakthrough came after researchers from the University of Bologna developed a new technique using the protein found in tooth enamel, called enamel peptides, to determine their sex. They shared their findings this week in the journal Scientific Reports.

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