Spain: Archeologists to excavate medieval Islamic burial site in Aragon

Archaeologists excavated more than 300 tombs at the burial site of the medieval Islamic necropolis recently discovered in the municipality of Tauste in Zaragoza province, Aragon. Groups of workers and archaeologists were seen on Thursday excavating the archaeological site in search of further burials, as thousands more are estimated to be in the area. «We think that the extension of the maqbara (Muslim cemetery) could be about two hectares wide and that it can contain about 4,500 burials. This whole area is being excavated on the occasion of the work promoted by the Tauste city council to urbanise this entire sector,» said Jose Angel Cardona from the Tauste tourist office. Although it was long believed the ancient Islamic graveyard might be lying in the area, the burial site was only discovered earlier this month, when construction workers accidentally came across human remains while urbanising an avenue in Tauste. «We have some of the oldest dates for burial with Islamic rite in the Iberian Peninsula,» said director of archaeological excavations Rafael Laborda, adding that it most probably originates from the beginning of or mid-8th century. «This large number of remains will allow anthropological and genetic analysis to be carried out with a sufficient number of samples for the study to be representative of the Muslim population of Tauste during the Middle Ages,» he added.
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