Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Spanish dig fails to find grave of poet Lorca

Technical personnel prepare the area to start excavations at the Federico Garcia Lorca Park
A man who said he buried Lorca identified the spot

Excavations aimed at finding the remains of Spanish poet and dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca have drawn a blank, officials say.

The dig produced "not one bone, item of clothing or bullet shell", said Begona Alvarez, justice minister of Andalucia.

Lorca was murdered at the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 by right-wing supporters of Gen Francisco Franco.

The site on a hillside outside Granada was believed for decades to be a mass grave of civil war victims.

Correspondents say the failure casts doubt on whether the poet's remains will ever be found.

The two-month excavation near the town of Alfacar - carried out under tight security - had been requested by relatives of other men believed buried at the spot.

Archive picture of the young Federico Garcia Lorca
Lorca's surviving relatives gave DNA samples for the inquiry

It was one of several aimed at locating those still missing from Spain's bitter civil war.

"No remains of human bones have appeared or other signs belonging to civil war graves," a report by archaeologists at the University of Granada said.

Ms Alvarez said the soil was only 40cm (16in) deep, making it too shallow for a grave.

Lorca was 38 when he died, murdered by fascists for his left-wing views, Republican sympathies and homosexuality.

He is best known for tragedies such as Blood Wedding and his poetry collections Poet in New York and Gypsy Ballads.

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