Couple Buried in 'Eternal Embrace' Found in 1,500-year-old Grave

True love really does stand the test of time.

The 1,500-year-old skeletal remains of a couple buried in an "eternal embrace" were recently found by archaeologists in China, reported Live Science. The exciting discovery, said scientists, offers a rare glimpse into people's views toward love.

According to the South China Morning Post, archaeologists first discovered the burial in June 2020. They were reportedly excavating a cemetery that had been unearthed by a construction project in northern China. Of course, researchers were completely unaware they were about to make a rare discovery.

Scientists observed the man's body was "curved toward the woman's," and his left arm was placed beneath her body, said Live Science. He "embraced her" with his right arm, and her head was resting on his shoulder.

"The message was clear—husband and wife lay together, embracing each other for eternal love during the afterlife," researchers said of the couple according to the South China Morning Post.

Two other couples were found buried in the same cemetery; however, they were not buried in the same loving embrace.

"Love is an important part of human emotion has been depicted in literature, folklore, and art since ancient China. However, in archaeological settings, direct skeletal evidence for love is rare," researchers wrote in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.

So rare, in fact, that a burial like this had never before been found in the country.

Qian Wang, the study's lead researcher, told Live Science: "This is the first [couple] found in a loving embrace, as such, anywhere anytime in China."

"This discovery is a unique display of human emotion of love in a burial, offering a rare glimpse of people's views toward love, life, death, and afterlife in northern China during a time of intense cultural and ethnic exchange," the study's authors wrote.

Scientists say the burial dates back to the North Wei Dynasty (386–534  B.C.). At that time, "the free expression and active pursuit of love in Chinese culture became prominent."

But, researchers believe this woman's love for her partner is what ultimately caused her death.

Scientists could not conclusively determine the couple's cause of death, but researchers said it is likely the woman "sacrificed herself" in order to be buried with her dead husband. In his interview with Live Science, Wang explained that death by suicide for love was socially accepted in China during that time period.

Though the couple's death may be forever shrouded in mystery, the love they shared during their lives remains evident.

Chinese tomb
Chinese archaeologists discovered the burial of an "embracing couple," dating to 386–534  B.C., in June 2020. Chinese archaeologists working inside the newly discovered tomb of Shangguan Wan'er. AFP / Stringer/Getty