PASCAL GOETGHELUCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASCAL GOETGHELUCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Islamic archaeology. Hands of a researcher holding a bagged sample from a femur (thigh bone) that is over 1000 years old. The thigh bone is from the Al-Fustat necropolis in Cairo, Egypt, where members of the Fatimid dynasty were buried. The Fatimids, a Shiite Muslim dynasty that ruled a large North African empire from 909 to 1171, founded a new capital city of Al-Qahira (Cairo) in 972. Some of the bodies in Cairo were brought from the previous capital in Tunisia. Many of the bodies are well-preserved, having mummified naturally. This research uses genetic analysis to study the origins of the Fatimids, such as family relationships, and to explain why some of them had blond hair.
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