Preserved brains found in Spanish grave
Archaeologists excavating a mass grave from Spain's 1936 to 1939 Civil War have found the naturally preserved brains of 45 people eight decades after they were shot and buried on a hillside in the northern province of Burgos. REUTERS/Juan Medina
The brains from some of the bodies in the La Pedraja grave were preserved by very specific environmental conditions after heavy rains seeped into bullet holes in their skulls. This "saponification" process turned them into a soap-like...more
Site of the mass grave in the area known as La Pedraja, Burgos. Spain has hundreds of mass graves from the war and from ensuing decades of dictatorship under General Francisco Franco. Very few have been dug up due to a lack of funding and Spain's...more
A drawing depicting the remains of the bodies. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Fernando Serrulla, a forensic anthropologist of the Aranzadi Science Society works at a laboratory in Verin, Spain. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Some of the 45 brains saponified found in the mass grave, are seen at a laboratory in Verin, Spain. REUTERS/Juan Medina
A saponified heart of one of the persons killed in 1936 by forces of the dictator Francisco Franco. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Fernando Serrulla, a forensic anthropologist of the Aranzadi Science Society. REUTERS/Juan Medina
A portrait of Rafael Martinez (C), one of those killed by forces of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1936 in the area known as La Pedraja, is seen among other portraits at a family home in Briviesca, Spain. Martinez, the president of a socialist...more
Victoria Martinez, daughter of Rafael Martinez, poses with a portrait of her father. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Miguel Angel Martinez, grandson of Rafael Martinez, poses next to the mass grave. REUTERS/Juan Medina
"If only those brains could tell of what happened there," his grandson said. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Forensic anthropologist Fernando Serrulla prepares to show one of the 45 brains. REUTERS/Juan Medina
"Naturally preserved brains are very rare," Serrulla said. "There are only around 100 documented cases in the world." The brains are being kept in a laboratory in Galicia, northwestern Spain, where Serrulla works. They form the largest collection of...more
A placard showing the names of those killed next to the mass grave in the area known as of La Pedraja, Burgos. REUTERS/Juan Medina
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