Graves of the battlefields of the Spanish Civil War. An archaeological approach to the exhumation of soldiers of the Ebro front

Jordi Ramos Ruiz, Cesc Busquets Costa

This article presents the current overview of the archaeological interventions carried out in the areas of the Battle of the Ebro and the actions stemming from the project launched by the Directorate-General for the Democratic Memory of the Government of Catalonia. This program aims to recover and dignify the remains of combatants and missing civilians in areas linked either to events of the Civil War or to subsequent repressions. For this reason, to systematise the information obtained in recent years, this study advances a typology of these human remains. This classification stems from an archaeological perspective based on the actions that took place along the Ebro front from both the framework of the aforementioned project and other interventions authorised by the Archaeological and Palaeontological Service of the Department of Culture of the Government of Catalonia.

This study also attempts to explain the causes of the different cases where human remains were located either from unknown contexts or recovered from battle structures or funerary structures linked to the Battle of the Ebro. The different data offer a closer approach and give meaning to the role of archaeology in the study of common graves in areas of conflict such as that of the Ebro front.

Keywords: 1936-1939 Civil War, Battle of the Ebro, graves, archaeology, forensic anthropology