Libya's new rulers on Sunday revealed a grave site they said contained the bodies of more than 1,270 people killed by Muammar Gaddafi's security forces in a 1996 massacre at Tripoli's Abu Salim prison.
Small heaps of weathered bones -- some pulled from the earth by relatives of those killed and anti-Gaddafi gunmen who flocked to the site -- dotted a dusty, wind-whipped field outside the prison.
The massacre 16 years ago was covered up for years but ultimately it helped to topple Gaddafi because the rebellion that ended his rule was rooted in anger about the Abu Salim killings.
"We are dealing with more than 1,270 martyrs and must distinguish each one from the other for identification by comparing their DNA with family members," said Dr Osman Abdul Jalil, a medical official. "It may take years to reach the truth."