Hundreds of people killed

The determination of the families, encouraged by the discovery of the four skeletons, led to a new project by the Asociación de Familiares de Represeliados por el Franquismo en La Sauceda y El Marrufo. On 1st July 2012, with financial support from Grupo Festina, whose founder is the grandson and great-grandson of republicans who were executed at El Marrufo, archaeologists, anthropologists, students and volunteers began work on the excavation. They recovered the remains of 28 people who had been buried in seven communal graves. All were adults, aged between 18 and 60. There were 21 men and seven women.

But those 28 were only some of them. We know the names of more than 50 people who were shot in La Sauceda valley, and historians calculate that the number of bodies buried clandestinely in other parts of the estate and the valley could total several hundred.

Following the results from the archaeological work carried out at El Marrufo in 2011, the Foro por la Memoria del Campo de Gibraltar proposed a second campaign in the summer of 2012.


This involved a major excavation to try to recover scientifically the corpses of the people who had been killed and buried on the estate during the civil war, and to look for other communal graves in the area earmarked for the works. For this project the forum used a multidisciplinary team of archaeologists, physical anthropologists, surveyors, historians and specialist workers. There were also student volunteers, most of them studying history, humanities, physical anthropology etc. at university. The campaign began on 2nd July 2012 and ended on 9th October.
The archaeologists were able to locate and document a total of seven graves, five of them communal and two individual. The physical anthropologists led the works to extract the 28 bodies (five women and 23 men), and also recovered a large number of personal items, bullets, shells and pieces of wire with which their wrists had been tied.
The project to exhume the bodies was coordinated by Andrés Rebolledo Barreno, the president of the association of victims’ families, assisted by Francisco Gómez. The technical team comprised Jesús Román Román, who coordinated the archaeological works; Juan Manuel Guijo, the head of the physical anthropology study;Manuel Castro Rodríguez, who led the surveying works; and Fernando Sígler Silvera, the coordinator of the historical research.