From the hill above this western Kosovo village, the countryside is a carpet of farmers' fields, alternating green and black.
But venture down the rocky slope, past the Yugoslav army ambulance crumpled by a land mine, beyond the fire-bleached car frames in which villagers say people were burned alive, and the reality of this region comes into focus. In place after place down the hillside, the nubbly black earth has assumed the oblong shape of graves.
War crimes investigators have spent much of the last two days exploring sites around here where Serb-led Yugoslav forces are said to have buried ethnic Albanians by the score in this bloodstained Serbian province. Scene by scene, they are adding to the horror stories about what went on during 78 days of NATO bombing and a relentless offensive by Belgrade security forces against separatist guerrillas and the ethnic Albanian population that provided their recruiting pool and support base.
At one site, investigators located about 20 bodies and left behind German NATO soldiers to guard it as a crime scene. Villagers say the grave contains the remains of as many as 140 Kosovo Albanians, a total as high as any at the many reported atrocity sites under investigation in Kosovo.
Jim Landale, a spokesman for the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, said the villagers' figure could not be confirmed because the tribunal cannot immediately spare any of its five teams of investigators in Kosovo to probe the site.
"Our focus for the moment remains on surface crime scenes," Landale said, referring to bodies found in homes, yards or other open areas. "They will probably be disturbed first, so we want to deal with all we can before looking for evidence that is under the ground. . . . We are receiving a lot of reports like this from all over Kosovo."
No part of Kosovo seems to have been ravaged more than the villages -- like this one -- on the exposed plain between the still vibrant town of Prizren and the gutted city of Djakovica, about 20 miles to the northwest. The area had a reputation for supporting the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army.
On March 25, the day after NATO began its bombing campaign, Serbian police and paramilitary forces swept into the region. Survivors described horrors that would become routine in the telling -- homes burned and looted, residents rounded up, military-age males led away -- but on a scale scarcely suggested elsewhere.
Refugees from the area arriving in Albania weeks later told of moving from hamlet to hamlet for days and of burying dead men in groups of 60 or more. Now the refugees are returning -- 70 percent are back, one resident said -- and when not gathering up their scattered livestock, they lead visitors to burial grounds.
"Eight members of my family were killed," said Reshit Salihi, 52, standing a few feet from a ribbon of red-and-white tape that authorities stretched across the gate leading to a fallow field. At its far end, within earshot of the whine of the highway, lay three masses of upturned weedy soil, as if plowed weeks earlier; the rest of the field appears undisturbed.
A resident pointed across a gravel road to a stretch of land behind nearby houses. Bodies are said to have been buried there as well. Neighborhood children pointed out a third site, marked by three bits of red tape, two on sticks, the third on an apple tree that survived the tank shell that pruned the plum tree beside it.
Even the hilltop with the serene view proved to be a killing ground. Away from the valley, the view was of two trucks and a car, the paint burned off them, and another series of dirt mounds. The suspected graves looked freshly disturbed.
"I was there earlier today," Landale said.