An Iraqi official says authorities believe they have found another mass grave from Saddam Hussein's regime in southern Iraq.

The director of the local human rights commission, Mahdi al-Timimi, says local villagers found two skulls, bones and old clothes in the oil-rich Nahran Omar area northeast of Basra.

He told reporters Wednesday that excavation for more remains will start the following day.

Several Saddam-era mass graves have been unearthed since the dictator was ousted following the 2003 U.S. invasion.

The latest discovery has caused a temporary halt to oil exploration in the section being excavated.

The victims are believed to have been killed in 1991, when Saddam's forces brutally crushed a Shiite uprising following the Gulf War.