Lorca investigation ends in more doubt

After six weeks of digging at the site in Alfacar, outside Granada, where experts believed the poet Federico Garcia Lorca had been shot and buried in 1936, nothing has been found. No bones, no scraps of clothing, no spent cartridges. A bullet mark was discovered on a rock, but that was it.

But there was one important discovery: the archaeologists had only dug down for 40 cm before hitting a mass of rock. This is too shallow for a grave, proving that no one was ever buried there. This also refutes another of the many theories surrounding Lorca’s fate, which claimed that his remains, and those of the five others killed at the same time, had been dug up in the 1940s and taken to the Valley of Fallen, General Franco’s macabre monument to Fascism outside Madrid, where thousands of Republicans are believed to be buried.

Ian Gibson, the great expert on Lorca’s life and work, believed this to be his burial site as the spot was pointed out to him in the 1960s, and again a decade later, by Manolo Castilla, the man who dug the graves on August 18 or 19. People who knew Castilla have however claimed that he showed Gibson and other historians the first place that occurred to him, to stop them hassling him.

There are several other possible burial sites nearby, but the regional government of Andalucia and the Granada authorities are reluctant to undertake any further excavations without strong evidence. Ian Gibson thinks the most likely place is on the other side of the road under some pine trees, which may have been planted to disguise the disturbed land.

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