[IN PICTURES] Thousands of bodies discovered in ancient Islamic necropolis in Spain

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


  • An early medieval Islamic necropolis containing over 4,500 bodies has been discovered in Spain.

(Anadolu Agency)

An early medieval Islamic necropolis containing over 4,500 bodies has been unearthed in northeastern Spain, with archaeologists digging more than 400 tombs in the five-acre site.

(Muath Mashal / Anadolu Agency)

According to Eva Giménez, an archaeologist currently excavating the area with the Paleoymás archaeology firm, the tombs were discovered in an 8th-century burial ground in Tauste, near Zaragoza in Aragón.

View of Tauste, Zaragoza, Aragón, Spain. (Muath Mashal / Anadolu Agency)

By 711, Muslim forces, mostly Arabs and Amazighs (Berbers), had conquered the Iberian peninsula.

They stayed for the next seven centuries until 1492 when the Christian kingdoms recaptured the area.

(Muath Mashal / Anadolu Agency)

According to researchers from the University of the Basque Country, the Muslim conquest of Tauste had been assessed as “incidental and even non-existent” by traditional and written sources.

However, Miriam Pina Pardos, director of the Anthropological Observatory of the Islamic Necropolis of Tauste with the El Patiaz cultural association, believed otherwise.

Pina told CNN that the region’s cultural association had long suspected the area had been home to a large Islamic settlement due to architectural clues and human remains found in the town.

(Anadolu Agency)

Researchers from the University of the Basque Country state that the boundaries between the Christian north and the Islamic south constantly shifted from 711 to 1492 due to the changing sovereign authority.

(El Patiaz Asociacion Cultural)

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

Around 44 skeletons were uncovered during smaller excavations in the years following the initial dig.

(Anadolu Agency)

Nonetheless, more than 400 tombs have been found this year after local authorities ordered an extensive excavation of the area. “It’s rare to carry out excavation and find 400 tombs. It’s amazing,” Pina said.

(Anadolu Agency)

All of the skeletons had been buried as per Islamic customs, positioned to the right and facing southeast towards Makkah.

Experts believe the discovery will question previous assumptions about Muslim settlements in the area.

(El Patiaz Asociacion Cultural)

“We can see that the Islamic presence and Muslim culture in this area are more important than we thought,” Giménez said.

(El Patiaz Asociacion Cultural)

“We can see there was a huge Muslim population here in Tauste from the beginning of the existence of Muslims in Spain,” she added. “It is essential — the 400 Muslim tombs show the people lived here for centuries,” she said.

According to Pina, the remains will be cataloged, stored for research, and studied.

What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments below.


  • Featured Content⭐

    >