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Archaeologists discover ancient Islamic necropolis in northern Spain

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One of 400 skeletons found in Zaragosta, Spain, believed to be part of an 8th century a Muslim necropolis
One of 400 skeletons found in Zaragosta, Spain, believed to be part of an 8th century a Muslim necropolis   -   Copyright  AFP
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Construction workers in Spain have made an unexpected find that archaeologists say could help them better understand the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsular.

The discovery of several hundred bodies in the northeast of the country indicates an established Muslim community lived in the area. The burial ground is believed to be one of the oldest and best-preserved Muslim necropoleis found in Spain. Once DNA testing is complete, researchers hope it will provide clues about the region's conversion to Islam.

Workmen came across the human remains while widening a road in Tauste, a small town in the province of Zaragoza.

Archaeologists then uncovered 400 tombs containing more than 4,500 bodies dating from the 8th century.

The excavations in Tauste started in 2010. Archaeologists determined that the graves were Muslim because the skeletons were facing Mecca, in line with Islamic traditions.

The find raises hopes of a deeper understanding of the country’s history following the Muslim conquest of the Iberian peninsula in the early 700s.

After undergoing DNA analysis, the remains will be being transferred to a museum.

Watch the report in the player above.