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Encyclopedia > Red Lady of Paviland

The Red Lady of Paviland was a fairly complete human skeleton dyed in red ochre that was discovered in 1826 by Rev. William Buckland in one of the Paviland limestone caves of the Gower Peninsula in south Wales.

The "lady" has since been identified as a young man who lived 29,000 years ago (26,350 +/- 550 BP, OxA-1815) at the end of the Upper Paleolithic Period (old stone age), and his are the oldest human remains found in the United Kingdom, as well as being the oldest ceremonial burial in Western Europe. The skeleton was found along with jewellery made from ivory and seashells, and a mammoth's skull.

Although now on the coast, at the time of the burial the cave would have been located approximately 70 miles inland, overlooking a plain. The ice sheet of the most recent glacial period, in the British Isles called the Devensian Glaciation, would have been advancing towards the site, and the weather would have been more like that of present day Siberia, with maximum temperatures of perhaps 10C in summer, -20 in winter, and a tundra vegetation. Bone protein analysis indicates that the "lady" lived on a diet that consisted of between 15% and 20% fish, which, together with the distance from the sea, suggests that the people may have been semi nomadic. Other food probably included mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros and reindeer.

The skeleton is currently housed at the Natural History Museum, Oxford University, however a campaign is now underway to return it to Wales; specifically to Swansea Museum.

See also

External links

  • http://scarab.newport.ac.uk/pavi/paviland.html
  • Devensian Glaciation (http://www.phancocks.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/naturalhistory/devensian.htm)

  Results from FactBites:
Great Sites: Paviland Cave (2390 words)
But at the time when the 'Red Lady' was unearthed she - or rather he - was not only the first such burial to be found but also the first human fossil ever to have been recovered anywhere in the world.
Jacobi undertook a rigorous analysis of both the 'Red Lady' burial and human presence at Goat's Hole and concluded that parallels could be found within the Belgian Aurignacian for the ivory artefacts associated with the interment and that the 'Red Lady' was therefore likely to be of that age.
Paviland cave was occupied by the hunters of the Gravettian mammoth steppe as a functional shelter; but there may also have been an aura of sanctity attached to the place, explaining the burial here of the 'Red Lady'.
Explore Gower › Paviland Cave - Goat's Hole (839 words)
The "Red Lady of Paviland" itself, is housed in the University Museum of Oxford, where it was first presented by Buckland - there being no suitable museum in Wales at the time of his excavation of the cave.
The skeleton of the "Red Lady of Paviland", as it is still fondly known, is now recognised as belonging to one of the earliest orders of modern man and offers one of only a few examples of the biology and behaviour of our ancestors.
Paviland is now recognised as an exceptional archaeological site and, given the rather grand nature of his internment, the "Red Lady" is considered to have been a very important man amongst his people.
  More results at FactBites »



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