Italian archaeologists say they will not separate the remains of stone age lovers, which they unearthed last week on the outskirts of the northern city of Mantua.

Archaeologists said Tuesday they would scoop out the tightly embraced male and female skeletons and keep them together. The couple was buried between 5,000- and-6,000 years ago. They are believed to have died young because their teeth were found intact.

The discovery during construction work has sparked theories about prehistoric love in Italy. The hugging skeletons were found not too far from Verona, the city where Shakespeare's fictional lovers Romeo and Juliet took their lives.

Archaeologists say there is no doubt the couple's pose reflects deep love, but caution that it is almost impossible to determine the exact nature of their relationship and the circumstances of their death.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.