Source: The Daily Mail
Three skeletons found facing east in a French burial ground belonged to medieval Islamic soldiers.
It started in the Middle East around 1,400 years ago as small religious community but within a hundred years had spread across a vast empire.
Now the remains of three people discovered in medieval graves dating from the 8th Century have provided new clues as to just how far Islam spread in its early days.
Archaeologists have used genetic testing on three skeletons found in Nimes in the south of France to reveal they belonged to Muslims from North Africa.
The DNA revealed their father’s families had come from North Africa, which as the time would have been part of the huge Umayyad Islamic empire that emerged by that time.
While the Umayyad Empire is known to have spread as far as the south of Spain, the researchers say this is the first evidence of the Muslim faith in France during the early Middle Ages…..
Writing in the journal Public Library of Sciences One, Yves Gleize, an archaeologist at the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research, and his colleagues said three skeletons may have been members of the Berbers tribes who were integrated into the Umayyad army.
They said: ‘Our study provides the first archaeo-anthropological testimony of the Muslim establishment in South of France.
HOW DID THEY KNOW THE SKELETONS WERE MUSLIMS?
- The three graves were discovered in a Medieval cemetery in the town of Nimes in an area of that had been the Roman quarter. They were found amidst 20 other graves.
- However, unlike the others, the bodies appear to have been buried with a specific orientation.
- In particular, each of the bodies had been buried in a way that appeared to follow Islamic rites, with their bodies and heads orientated towards Mecca.
- The DNA revealed their father’s families had come from North Africa, which as the time would have been part of the huge Umayyad Islamic empire that emerged by that time.