Paviland Cave, originally known as Goat’s Hole, on the Gower Peninsula was the final resting place of William Buckland’s ‘Red Lady’, a skeleton that is now known to be male. Excavated in 1823, the ‘Red Lady’ was originally interpreted as Roman-aged, but it is in fact Upper Palaeolithic, associated with a mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, and hyaena fauna. The cave was used not only for the burial, but for other purposes as indicated by the more than 5,000 lithic artefacts that have been recovered from it. The oldest implements are leaf points, including a "Jerzmanowice" point from 38,000 to 36,000 radiocarbon years before present, but most are late Aurignacian in style. One interpretation is that the site was a sacred place visited periodically over a long period of time, but recent re-dating of key artefacts by Jacobi and Higham (2008) suggests that the period of human activity may have been much shorter.
This Gravettian buri... [read more]