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The discovery of artifacts that bear Islamic imagery is raising questions in the archaeological world. Findings in ancient gravesites have raised the question: Did Vikings who raided Muslim communities bring home a new religion, or are modern archeologists seeing interfaith connections as a way to counteract white supremacy?

Researchers at Uppsala, Sweden’s oldest university, claim to have found Islamic symbols woven into clothing artifacts found at 9th century Viking burial sites in Birka and Gamla Uppsala in Sweden. An ornate pattern woven into bands of silk on a buried outfit bears a resemblance to the geometric Kufic text spelling out the words “Allah.” Textile archaeology researcher Annika Larsson said at first she could not make sense of the symbols, but then, “I remembered where I had seen similar designs: in Spain, on Moorish textiles.”

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