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Archeologists in Spain find 400 tombs in ancient Islamic necropolis

November 19, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

An ancient Islamic necropolis containing over 4,500 bodies has been uncovered in northeastern Spain, with archaeologists excavating more than 400 tombs in the five-acre site.

The tombs were discovered in an 8th-century burial ground in the town of Tauste, near Zaragoza in Aragon, Eva Gimenez, an archeologist currently excavating the area with the Paleoymás archeology firm, told CNN.

Muslim occupation of Tauste had been considered "incidental and even non-existent" by traditional and written sources, researchers from the University of the Basque Country have said -- but the region's cultural association had long suspected the area had been home to a large Islamic settlement because of architectural clues and human remains found in the town, Miriam Pina Pardos, director of the Anthropological Observatory of the Islamic Necropolis of Tauste with the El Patiaz cultural association, told CNN.

A first dig of the site in 2010 revealed a five-acre necropolis, spread over at least two levels, Pina Pardos said.

Some 44 skeletons were uncovered during smaller excavations in the years following the initial dig, Pina Pardos said, and this year, more than 400 bodies have been found after local authorities ordered an extensive excavation of the area.

"We can see that the Muslim culture and Islamic presence in this area is more important than we thought," Gimenez said.

The remains will be cataloged, stored for research and studied, Pina Pardos said.

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