Researchers say their excavation of a southern Illinois cemetery has located the likely remains of people killed during a violent 1922 labor strike at a nearby coal mine.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the Herrin City Cemetery search headed by Eastern Illinois University geologist Steven Di Naso and author Scott Doody found four coffins matching the description of those used for victims of the Herrin Massacre.

Doody, who in April published a book about the violence, says the discovery drew "a flood of relief" for searchers who realized they had found the right people.

The excavation began in September in the hunt for victims of the massacre that took place during a union strike and killed dozens of replacement workers at the Southern Illinois Coal Co.

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