The burial of the Scythian pair, most likely husband and wife was found in the Ternopil region in Ukraine. It dates to circa 1,000 B.C. Professor M. Bandrivsky who conducted a study of ‘loving couple burials’ said: “It is a unique burial, a man and a woman lying there, hugging each other tight. Both faces were gazing at each other, their foreheads were touching. The woman was lying on her back, with her right arm she was tenderly hugging the man, her wrist lying on his right shoulder. “The legs of the woman were bent at the knees – lying on the top of the men’s stretched legs.“Both the dead humans were clad in bronze decorations, and near the heads some pottery – a bowl, a jar, and three bailers – was placed.”
This ancient culture was known for the “tenderness” of its burials, said Dr. Bandrivsky, Director of the Transcarpathian branch of the Rescue Archaeological Service of the Institute of Archeology of Ukraine. But this example is very striking as autopsy experts say it would not be possible to place the woman’s body in such a loving position if she was already dead.
The experts say it is likely the woman chose to die and be buried with her husband and drank poison as she climbed into the grave and embraced her recently dead husband.
In other cases, burials from this culture have revealed “a man holding the hands of a woman, the lips of a man touching the forehead of a woman, or arms of both dead people hugging each other”. Dr. Bandrovsky – who has carried out an analysis of such burials – said: “From our point of view, this woman did it voluntarily”. He added: “She may, for example, have drunk a chalice of poison to make joining her husband easy and painless.”
Marriage was well developed in the Vysotska Culture, with husbands and wives having clearly defined responsibilities, he said. A tenet of their beliefs was the idea that woman preferred to die with her man.
“People in the Late Bronze Age believed in the eternal life of the human soul.” The renowned Ukrainian archeologist said: “It is interesting that in other parts of Europe, dead men and women in couple burials were laid next to each other.
“But in the Vysotska culture, the couples in double graves were arranged in a way to demonstrate the tenderness and greatest sympathy towards each other.”
More about the Scythian Culture and its burials in Ukraine – in the book “Royals Scythia, Greece, Kyiv Rus”.