Archaeologists from the Cluj-Napoca Institute of Archaeology and History of Art excavating the inner courtyard of a former Dominican monastery discovered the bodies of a young couple who were buried holding hands.

The find was a surprise as double burials were extremely rare in that period. Main researcher Adrian Rusu said: “We can see that the man had suffered a severe injury that left him with a broken hip from which he probably died. We believe the injury was caused after he was hit by something very blunt and hard.”

Archaeologists assume that the woman may have died of a broken heart, as she was healthy at the time of her burial. It is unlikely that she had committed suicide, because it was regarded as a sin in the Middle Ages. Even if she had killed herself she would not have been buried in a cemetery.

The team estimates that the two bodies were buried between 1450-1550. ‘They were obviously buried together as a tribute to the love they had for each other,’ Rusu said.

A child burial also discovered in the cemetery in Cluj-Napoca has not been linked to the couple by the research team.