Feb 7, 2007

Neolithic Romeo and Juliet Discovered

Shakespearean scholars cautiously optimistic

February 7, 2007

MANTUA, ITALY -- Archaeologists have unearthed the Neolithic skeletons of Romeo and Juliet locked in a tender embrace and buried outside Mantua, just 25 miles south of Verona, throwing the literary world into tumult.

"There can be no doubt," said Giuseppi Manitoba, curator at the Historic Reliquary of Verona. "Traces of poison and a crude dagger found nearby positively identify the famed 'star-crossed lovers.'"

Radio carbon dating shows that the bones are anywhere from 5,000-6,000 years old. Scholars previously agreed that the couple died during the Renaissance, but the new find pushes that date back at least 4,000 years.

"We'll have to create an entirely fresh history of their relationship's evolution and ultimate destruction," said Ellen Goodhough, professor of literature at Duke University. "The results are clear: their families' 'ancient grudge' was pretty darn ancient."

Researchers are scouring the surrounding area in hopes of finding skeletons of the two as infants.

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