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Areas Social action Culture and Historical Heritage Taking stock of disinterment at Sant Ferran cemetery

Taking stock of disinterment at Sant Ferran cemetery

Foto conclusions politicsFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, Balearic culture minister Fanny Tur and Luís Ruiz, chief of the Eivissa-Formentera memory forum, gathered today in the administration's former plenary hall to present the conclusions of the effort afoot since November 29 to exhume remains at the Sant Ferran cemetery.

The disinterment was paid for with a €16,780 Govern grant for the Fòrum per la Memòria d'Eivissa i Formentera and a €4,000 contribution from the Formentera Council. Work was overseen by forensic archaeologist and anthropologist Almudena García-Rubio and a crew formed by Juanjo Marí Casanova, Glenda Graziani, Paqui Carmona, Pau Sureda, Sergi Moreno and Nicholas Márquez-Grant.

The impulse behind the undertaking was to unearth the remains of five individuals —Jaume Ferrer Ferrer (Jaume de na Morna), Josep Ribas Marí (Pep de Baix), Joan Tur Mayans (Joan de can Pep Damià), Jaume Serra Juan (Jaume de can Mariano d'en Corda) and Vicent Cardona Colomar (Vicent de can Fumeral)— executed on March 1, 1937 in the Sant Ferran cemetery.

As part of the undertaking, crews performed various targeted digs on and adjacent to the 125-square-metre lot (six and five, respectively) which has been used as a burial ground since 1903. Inspections inside the cemetery followed conventional wisdom about where the interred remains might lie: beside the cemetery entrance, underneath headstones built in 1956 and 1984, below another gravesite and in a portion of the cemetery without grave markers.

Popular memory again directed the probes outside the cemetery walls, conducted with the help of excavating machinery. Patches of cement found on the southeast wall served to confirm the hypothesis that holes were pocked into the walls by executioners' bullets. Four bullets were detected as well; one wedged into the wall was uncovered with the help of a metal detector.

The major discoveries emerged thanks to investigation of skeletal remains, which suggested the bodies of the five executed were at some point transported to the ossuary to make room in the cemetery for new burials, then a common practice with ageing remains.

Crews unearthed a piece of a humerus bone and two fragmented skulls bearing firearm damage not unlike others found in Civil War burial sites. According to specialists on the crew, the marks are clearly the result of injuries sustained close in time to the victims' death, rather than damages inflicted during the remains' keeping in the ossuary.

The crew of specialists are carrying out two checks to confirm the skeletons belonged to the individuals in question. The first is a review of the civil registry. At present, workers have checked entries from 1991 to 1994 and confirmed the absence among the 156 deaths catalogued of any caused by impact of a projectile, which would indicate that the three bone fragments might indeed correspond to one of the five victims.

The second test involves DNA cross-checking of the remains and living relatives of the victims. All five families have agreed to participate in the examination, which could produce results in as soon as two to four months.

Xarxa de Biblioteques

Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics

Enciclopèdia d'Eivissa i Formentera