The Earliest History Of A Kiss Dates Back To Ancient Mesopotamia

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Kissing is a display of affection with a deep history that can be traced back to ancient times. The act of romance was thought to have emerged by the late Bronze Age, but two Danish scientists have recently discovered that humans have been locking lips for far longer.

Previously, it was believed that the earliest known mentions of kissing were documented in texts from India, written in Vedic Sanskrit. The South Asian manuscripts date back to approximately 1500 B.C.E.

However, new research from a husband-and-wife team, Troels Pank Arbøll, a professor of archaeology, and his wife, an ecologist named Sophie Lund Rasmussen, asserted that the custom of kissing had been around since the third millennium B.C.E., a thousand years earlier than initially thought.

Their paper, which was published in the academic journal Science, indicates that humanity’s first accounts of a make-out session originated from ancient Mesopotamia, a region now known as Iraq and Syria.

The accounts were written on a clay tablet known as the Barton Cylinder, which was found in 1899. It is currently stored at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The clay tablets with cuneiform writing—one of the world’s first written scripts—contain descriptions of such acts of kissing from approximately 2500 B.C.E and onwards,” explained Arbøll.

One section of the descriptions of kissing was linked to a postcoital activity in a myth. The myth recounted a romantic meetup between a god and a goddess that ended with a kiss.

Additionally, two texts from around 1800 B.C.E. were highlighted in the couple’s research. One of the tales was about how a single smooch could seduce a married woman, and the other told a story of how a single woman resisted the impulse to kiss an admirer of hers.

These texts showed that kissing was a common practice that differentiated the norms between married and unmarried people.

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