Early medieval Muslim graves found in France
Archaeological and genetic analysis may indicate that three skeletons buried in medieval graves in France may have been Muslim, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Yves Gleize from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) and University of Bordeaux, France, Fanny Mendisco from University of Bordeaux, France, and colleagues.
The authors found that the burials appear to follow Islamic rites, including the position of the body and the head orientation towards mecca. They also found genetic evidence indicating their paternal lineage may show North African ancestry. Radiocarbon dating shows that the skeletons were likely from the 7th-9th centuries. Given all of these data, the authors propose that the skeletons from the Nimes burials belonged to Berbers integrated into the Umayyad army during the Arab expansion in North Africa in the 8th century. Despite the low number of Muslim graves discovered, the authors believe that these observations provide some of the first archeological and anthropological evidence for Muslim communities in the South of France.
Dr. Gleize added, “The joint archaeological, anthropological and genetic analysis of three early medieval graves at Nimes provides evidence of burials linked with Muslim occupation during the 8th c. in south of France.”
Source: Public Library of Science [February 25, 2016]