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University of Birmingham says Quran parchment dates to the time of the prophet

  • July 22, 2015: A university assistant shows fragments of an old Koran at the University in Birmingham, England. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    July 22, 2015: A university assistant shows fragments of an old Koran at the University in Birmingham, England. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)  (The Associated Press)

  • A university assistant shows fragments of an old Quran at the University in Birmingham, in Birmingham central England Wednesday, July 22, 2015. The University of Birmingham said Wednesday that scientific tests prove a Quran manuscript in its collection is one of the oldest known and may have been written close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Radiocarbon testing at Oxford University dated the parchment to the time of the prophet, who is generally believed to have lived between 570 and 632.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    A university assistant shows fragments of an old Quran at the University in Birmingham, in Birmingham central England Wednesday, July 22, 2015. The University of Birmingham said Wednesday that scientific tests prove a Quran manuscript in its collection is one of the oldest known and may have been written close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Radiocarbon testing at Oxford University dated the parchment to the time of the prophet, who is generally believed to have lived between 570 and 632.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)  (The Associated Press)

  • A university assistant shows fragments of an old Quran at the University in Birmingham, in Birmingham central England Wednesday, July 22, 2015. The University of Birmingham said Wednesday that scientific tests prove a Quran manuscript in its collection is one of the oldest known and may have been written close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Radiocarbon testing at Oxford University dated the parchment to the time of the prophet, who is generally believed to have lived between 570 and 632.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    A university assistant shows fragments of an old Quran at the University in Birmingham, in Birmingham central England Wednesday, July 22, 2015. The University of Birmingham said Wednesday that scientific tests prove a Quran manuscript in its collection is one of the oldest known and may have been written close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Radiocarbon testing at Oxford University dated the parchment to the time of the prophet, who is generally believed to have lived between 570 and 632.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)  (The Associated Press)

The University of Birmingham says new scientific tests on a Quran parchment place it close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

The university said Wednesday that radiocarbon dating has put the parchment among one of the oldest known manuscripts of the Muslim holy book known to survive. The analysis dated the parchment close to the time of the prophet, who is generally believed to have lived between 570 and 632.

The manuscript has long been part of the university's Cadbury Research Library. But it had not been bound properly and was attached to the leaves of a similar manuscript that was not as old.

Professor David Thomas says the finding could well "take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam."