World’s Oldest Lovers
Are the world's oldest lovers 90 years old, 100 years old or 11,000?
The Ain Sakhri lovers sculpture is about 11,000 years old and is the oldest known representation of a couple having sex. It was found in one of the Ain Sakhri caves, in the Judean desert near Bethlehem and is now held in the British Museum in London.
The sculpture was discovered by a Bedouin within the Ain Sakhri caves at Wadi Khareitoun and identified René Neuville in 1933. Excavations of the caves showed that they were used by the Natufians, who lived 13,000 to 9,800 years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean and who carved the lovers sculpture.
The Natufians are thought to be the first humans to cultivate cereals and to domesticate dogs, sheep, and goats, involving selective breeding. It has been suggested that the stability of having a managed economy allowed the Natufians to create large communities of two to three hundred people and to create art.
The Worlds Oldest Lovers sculpture was made by carving a single "calcite cobble" with a stone point to identify the position of the couple. Although it lacks detail such as faces, the figure changes with the viewer's perspective. It may resemble a couple, a penis, breasts, or a vagina depending on which side it is viewed from, and two testicles when viewed from underneath. It is clear that the figures in the couple are facing each other but the gender of the figures is not obvious. However, the sculpture is phallic whichever way you look at it and was probably used as a fertility symbol in fertility rites.
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