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Corpses uncovered date from Civil War

17 December 2003

BURGOS – A total of 81 male corpses have been found in six common graves dating from the Spanish Civil War, scientists said Wednesday.

From evidence uncovered by a university team, all the men had been executed, probably by firing squads.

There was no indication which side the dead men may have been on during the war between 1936-39.

The corpses were exhumed in the Costaján hills near Aranda de Duero, south of Burgos.

In a press conference Wednesday, the leader of the scientific team from the university of Burgos, José Miguel Carretero, said the bodies were exceptionally well-preserved.

Most of the victims were between 20 and 35 years old; only one was 16 and several were elderly.

Just over a quarter (26 percent) of the men were bound at the time of their execution.

Carretero said 111 bullet impacts were found on the skeletons, and almost all the victims (90 percent) had been shot in the head.

Although several items of personal belongings were found, such as footwear, clothing, coins and rings, none of them have been helpful in identifying the remains.

Carretero said that with the large number of skeletons and only 54 families reporting missing people in Aranda de Duero, it will be difficult to identify the bodies.

He added that DNA testing will be required, and due to the high cost, the government will have to pay for it.

Carretero said the common graves should be included on the Spanish Historical Heritage list and a commemorative monument should be erected.

The proposal was made at the town council in an event attended by more than fifty relatives of the victims.

The project has been financed by the Aranda de Duero council with EUR 37,052 and the TCR Construction company, which owns the land where the graves were found, added EUR 26,020.

TCR Construction is planning to build a housing development on the site.

[copyright EFE with Expatica]

subject: Spanish news