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updated: 9/16/2013 7:39 AM

Excavation work begins in Herrin Cemetery

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Associated Press

HERRIN, Ill. -- 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.

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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.

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