Search for Spanish Civil War victim unearths Visigothic remains

THE search for the remains of a teenage woman executed by Franco’s fascist forces for her temerity in embroidering a Republican flag has found a body.

But it is not that of Lourdes Malón Pueyo, who was just 18 when she was shot dead as she attempted to flee across a mountain.

The body found is in fact that of a young man aged between 20 and 30 – and dates back to between 475 and 620 AD during the Visigothic occupation of the region.

The find is just one of many archaeological remains searchers have found in a 3700m2 plot which they have been scouring in their bid to find Lourdes.

Her sister, Rosario, 23 died the same day in 1936, executed inside a cave where she had taken shelter with Lourdes. Their mother had been shot dead several days earlier, while brother Mariano escaped to Huelva, where he died in 1999.

Franco Snip 2
Franco’s legacy still casts a long shadow over Spain.
Photo: Flickr

Starting in 2013,  five archaeological expeditions were held to find the young women. Rosario was found in 2017, but the search went on for Lourdes.

Sponsored by the Charata Association for the Recovery of the Historical Memory of Uncastillo – a village of 800 people in Zaragoza – the search has uncovered a series of unexpected finds.

The remains of the young man turn out to be associated with a previously unknown Hispano-Visigothic settlement. What’s more, walls from the ‘lost’ Medieval monastery of San Esteban de Oraste have been found, as well as the Visigothic tomb, ceramics from the same period, a bell fragment and a set of coins from the 11th century.

In the search for Lourdes and Rosario, archaeologists had used ground-penetrating radar – which revealed the unexpected archaeological remains, as detailed in the report El yacimiento arqueológico de las Peñas de Santo Domingo: las fases de ocupación hispanovisigoda y plenomedieval.

But despite the wealth of finds, Lourdes – the reason the search was launched – remains missing to this day.


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