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."