Excavation work begins in Herrin Cemetery

HERRIN, Ill. (AP) — Researchers have begun their excavation of a southern Illinois cemetery in hopes of finding the remains of people killed during a violent 1922 labor strike at a nearby coal mine.

A team including geologists and researchers from Eastern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University began the work at Herrin Cemetery on Friday, just days after a judge lifted an injunction that had blocked the effort. The crew is expected to return to the site next Friday.

The focus is finding victims of the 1922 Herrin Massacre, which took place during a union strike and killed dozens of replacement workers at the Southern Illinois Coal Co.

Scott Doody, who in April published a book about the violence, believes some modern burials have taken place atop the victims' remains.