Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Early Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site

Friday, 26 February 2016

France's earliest 'Muslim burials' found

The individuals appear to have been buried in accordance with Islamic rites

Researchers have identified what may be the earliest Muslim burials in France.

The three skeletons unearthed at Nimes show indications of Islamic burial rites and are thought to date to the eighth century AD.

A team used DNA, radiocarbon dating and archaeological analysis to show the individuals may have been North African soldiers from a brief occupation of southern France by an Islamic army.

Details of the analysis are published in the journal Plos One.

In each of the three graves, the bodies were placed on their right-hand sides facing south-east - in the direction of Mecca. The way the burial pit was dug, with a lateral niche closed off by slabs or stones also corresponds to a traditional Islamic burial practice.

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