The Cádiz provincial council (Diputación de Cádiz) is pressing ahead with its plans to continue searching for mass graves containing victims of Francoist repression in the province. Deputy vice-president Javier Vidal, who is also the head of the institution’s Historical and Democratic Memory Department, recently held a meeting with archaeologist Jesús Román to plan the next phase of the searches, which will take place in Villamartín, Prado del Rey, Algodonales and El Gastor.
In Villamartín the search is to be focused on a mass grave which is believed to exist on the El Topetón estate, close to the Virgen de las Montañas chapel. According to researchers and statements from witnesses, Mateos Arocha is likely to be among the victims buried there.
In Prado del Rey, the works will take place at Pozo Marquito, beside the CA-5231 road, where the remains of two or three victims are believed to lie.
In Algodonales searches are to be carried out on a site at Cuatro Mojones, where witnesses believe five people were buried in a mass grave, and also at the municipal cemetery, where the remains of 19 others are known to be.
And in El Gastor the experts will be searching for the remains of Isabel ‘La Panita’ at La Fresnadilla, and will possibly also carry out exhumations in the local cemetery if geo-radar soundings are able to pinpoint the location of mass graves there.
Similar projects carried out by the Diputación in the past three years have resulted in more than 140 victims being exhumed, and more than 200 people have provided DNA samples to help forensic experts with identification.

Vidal escucha las explicaciones de Roman.
Archaeologist Jesús Román (left) and Javier Vidal discussed the plans for the forthcoming searches at their recent meeting.