The Man Who Unearthed 200 Mass Graves in Spain





Francisco Etxeberria's work causes blisters and earns him animosity as well as admiration. He and his team of forensic experts, anthropologists, archaeologists and others have unearthed 200 mass graves, exhuming the remains of 4,800 people in Spain since 2000.

With the passage of the ”law on historical memory” in 2000 and a lawsuit filed by a son who had lost his father, Etxeberria began to excavate in Priaranza del Bierzo in the northern province of León. The bodies of 13 civilians shot by firing squad at the start of the war were unearthed. It was the first scientific excavation of mass graves carried out in Spain, nearly 70 years after the war began.

With virtually no political or financial support, the team of experts led by the professor of forensic medicine from the University of the Basque Country in northern Spain has included dozens of volunteers from around the world.



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