A mass grave has been discovered in the predominantly Shia city of Karbala south of Baghdad, according to Iraqi police.
Dozens of bodies have reportedly been found, apparently those of Shia rebels killed by Saddam Hussein's army after its defeat in the 1991 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 indicated that 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.
Shia pilgrims converge on Karbala twice a year to mark the death of Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, 1,300 years ago.
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, BBC reports.