New search planned for grave of Spanish poet Lorca

Archeologists will start inspecting land in southern Spain near where the acclaimed poet Federico Garcia Lorca is believed to have been executed and buried at the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, officials said Friday.

Soundings will begin on Nov. 17 in a 300-square meter (360-square yard) hillside close to the southern city of Granada, Luis Naranjo of the southern regional government of Andalusia said.

He said the project is aimed at discovering the remains of Civil War victims, not specifically those of Lorca. He stressed that the studies did not involve any digging. If signs of bones are detected it will be up to a court to decide the next step.

A two-month, high-profile dig in another area nearby in 2009 yielded no results.

Lorca, one of Spain's most renowned 20th-century poets, was among tens of thousands of civilians executed by militias loyal to late dictator Gen. Francisco Franco, and who were buried in unmarked mass graves.

The search for his grave remains one of the greatest mysteries of the 1936-1939 war, which was started when Franco rose up against Spain's elected leftist Republican government.

Back in 2009, the poet's family initially opposed the dig, saying that they preferred to let the remains lie in peace and arguing that Lorca should not be singled out for recognition when so many families were also seeking to recover missing loved ones. They later said they might be prepared to offer DNA samples to help with identification if bones were found.

Lorca is best known for tragedies such as "Blood Wedding" and his poetry collections "Poet in New York and "Gypsy Ballads." His work draws on universal themes like love, death, passion, cruelty and injustice.

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