The remains of eight men shot during the Civil War are believed to lie in a cemetery in a small village in Spain’s North Western province of Zamora.
If found, they will be the first to be exhumed as a result of Spain’s first judicial inquiry into the atrocities.
The bodies are believed to lie in two mass graves – three skulls have been uncovered so far.
All the remains will be DNA tested before being returned to their families for reburial:
“Today is a great day, because if we find the remains of my grandfather, at least we could put them at the family vault together with his son and daughter.” said one relative.
The high-profile judge Baltasar Garzon led the inquiry into the crimes committed during the war and the Franco dictatorship.
The exhumations come after he handed over control of the controversial investigation to local officials in February.
More than 500,000 people died in the war, with atrocities committed on both sides and tens of thousands of them are thought to lie in mass graves around the country.