Red Lady of Paviland

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Paviland Cave
51.55, -4.25
Date min:
10,000 Bp
Date max:
35,000 Bp
Time periods:
Tarantian, Pleistocene

The Red "Lady" of Paviland (Welsh: "Dynes" Goch Pafiland) is an Upper Paleolithic partial male skeleton dyed in red ochre and buried in Wales 33,000 BP. The bones were discovered in 1823 by William Buckland in an archaeological dig at Goat's Hole Cave (Paviland cave) which is a limestone cave between Port Eynon and Rhossili on the Gower Peninsula, near Swansea in south Wales. Buckland believed the skeleton was a Roman era female. Later, William Solace examined Goat's Cave Paviland in 1912. There, Solace found flint arrow heads and tools and correctly concluded that the skeleton was in fact a male hunter-gatherer or warrior during the last Ice Age. Over the last 100 years, more advanced dating procedures have shifted the age from the Mesolithic period (4-10,000 BCE) to the Palaeolithic era (35,000/10,000 BCE) of the last Ice Age.

Goat's Hole was occupied throughout prehistory. Artefacts are predominantly Aurignacian, but also include examples from the earlier Mousterian, and later Gravettian and Creswellian periods. The site is the oldest known ceremonial burial in Western Europe.

There have been calls to return the red skeleton of Paviland to Wales where it was discovered and also specifically to Swansea.