An international team of archaeologists has unearthed what might be the earliest representation of childbirth in western art, they announced today. Consisting of two images of a woman giving birth to a child, the intimate scene was found on a small fragment from a ceramic vessel that is more than 2,600 years old.

About 1-3/4 x 1-1/4 inches (4 x 3 cm), the fragment was part of a vessel made of bucchero, a typically Etruscan black pottery. The image show the head and shoulders of a baby emerging from a mother. Portrayed with her face in profile and a long ponytail running down her back, the woman has her knees and one arm raised.

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