The Unknown Soldier

Almost coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the Batalla del Levante, when in July, 1938, a fierce battle was fought as a result of the offensive by Francoist troops to capture Valencia and Levante, Valencia until then having been the capital of the Republic and was one of the main ports of Republican Spain, the body of an unknown soldier was this week exhumed from his grave in El Toro, a municipality in Castellón, Valencia, along with several rounds of ammunition still found at his side, with his knapsack and several uniform buttons still intact.

According to archaeologists, the body is of a young man whose skeletal remains have appeared almost completely facing upwards and with arms folded toward his head. Archaeologist Miguel Mezquida, the director of the operation, explained that “the man was located very quickly and has now been completely removed”, which has been of “great satisfaction, for the team and for volunteers and residents of El Toro that have been guiding us in finding and dimensioning of the area”.

The remains were found in Puntal de Magañá where, Mezquida says, “there are likely to be many more remains of soldiers killed during the Civil War”. Following the discovery, the team from GRMH Valencia, following the protocol of the Law of Historical Memory, with the approval of both the Guardia Civil and the Judicial Police, who were at the scene to attest that the body belonged a soldier and thus be able to proceed with the exhumation.

During the day on Friday, a total of five archaeologists, two palaeontologists, a historian and several volunteers were working on the exhumation of the body in order to move it to Madrid and start the anthropological study. However, during the process, they extended the site slightly and discovered more bones, which they believe could belong to another skeleton, thus returning to the site to continue their investigation.

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