Workers found nearly 500 skeletons in a mass grave near a notorious Japanese prison camp on the River Kwai after a local man dreamed of "troubled souls" in the area, the governor of Thailand's Kanchanaburi province said Saturday.

Gov. Kongsak Liewmanomon said the grave was in a sugar plantation at Kanchanaburi town, six miles from the rail bridge built by thousands of World War II Allied prisoners laboring under harsh privation and brutality.The bridge gained worldwide notoriety through the novel and movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai."

Thousands of prisoners - and even more Asian slave workers - lost their lives building the railway, planned as a supply route for Japanese armies battling Allied troops in Burma.

Kongsak refused to speculate whether the remains found in Kanchanaburi, 75 miles northwest of Bangkok, were those of Allied prisoners.

"All we know is that there were many bodies dumped in a single hole," he said.

He said there was nothing to indicate that the skeletons were of soldiers or if the remains were Asian or European, though there was evidence they were buried after 1939.

Kongsak said some elderly people told him the sugar plantation had been the site of a prisoner-of-war camp.

He said local people started digging after Sompong Charoenchai, a motorcycle repairman, had dreams telling him there were "troubled souls" around his home.

After three days of digging, 453 skeletons had been found Friday. Kongsak said digging was continuing but he could not confirm that 700 skeletons had been found by Saturday afternoon.