Exhumations on a much smaller scale have been undertaken in Majorca. | Archive

Representatives from the Balearic and Catalonian governments are meeting in Palma on Friday to discuss the opening of the grave at Sa Fosca beach in Sa Coma, where the bodies of up to 500 soldiers are believed to have been buried. They were part of the Civil War Republican force which landed in August 1936.

Some 8,000 combatants were involved in trying to take control of Majorca back from the Nationalists. During three weeks of fighting, 1,700 lost their lives. At the end of those three weeks, the Republicans withdrew. The majority of the men who died were buried in common graves.

Italian bombers were used against the Republicans in the Sant Llorenç area of Majorca. Other graves have been documented.

The Catalonian government intends sending archaeologists to extract samples of DNA from the Sa Coma grave. It hopes that these samples will lead to identification and for the eventual transfer of remains to Catalonia.