A mass grave has been discovered in the predominantly Shia city of Karbala south of Baghdad, Iraq
i police said.
The bodies appear to be those of Shia rebels killed by Saddam Hussein's army in 1991 in reprisal for an uprising in the wake of the Gulf War.
The Shia revolt was crushed and as many as 30,000 people were killed, many of them buried in mass graves.
The remains were uncovered by workmen digging a new water pipe in the centre of the city known for its Shia shrine.
They called the police, who cordoned off the area. Clothing found with the bodies suggests they included men, women and children.
"The remains of dozens of victims were found in the pit - some 500 metres from the mausoleum of Imam Hussein," Abdul Rahman, a Karbala police spokesman, told news agency AFP.
Thousands of Shias converge on Karbala every year to mark the death 1,300 years ago of Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson.
Several mass graves containing thousands of bodies have been uncovered since the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, notably in the Shia south and Kurdish north.
However, there have been concerns that most useful evidence from the graves has been destroyed as relatives tried to recover the remains of their loved ones.
The former Iraqi leader and seven members of his regime are currently being tried for the killing of 148 people in Dujail in 1982. They all deny responsibility