Preliminary test excavations conducted by the Association of Historical Memory at a cemetery in Ronda has identified four mass graves and the remains of ten people, although it is thought that the pits could contain as many as 3,000 bodies.
The archaeological surveys have been carried out over a period of two months and involved making 24 boreholes to a depth of between one metre and one and a half metres. Four mass graves have so far been identified and the remains of 10 Franco victims, some covered with lime and surrounded by various metallic and other objects, have been found.
With the first remains found at a depth of only 10 centimetres it is estimated that there could be at least 3,000 people buried in these mass graves.
The presence of 1,607 people killed after 1937 are documented but there are more that remain undocumented. The next stage would be exhumation and identification of the bodies.
The Association has presented their findings to the Guardia Civil Court in Ronda where, on behalf of the Junta de Andalucia, they communicated evidence of ‘crimes against humanity’.
The Association also suggested that it should be the State which carries out such exhumations, Spain being the only country where local associations must assume the responsibility for such acts.
In the meantime, the boreholes have been covered and the remains have been left as they were found.
Not everyone has approved of the excavations, some families of victims arguing that the Association should have called a meeting and asked for permission from families before beginning their work.