Many years before Christ was born and even before the Great Flood and Britain was still attached to Europe, a young man lived and hunted the barren moors and deep valleys in the wilds of Paviland, a place that would one day be known as the Gower Coast in South Wales.
He fished in the river that would one day become the Bristol Channel and lived in a cave, surviving on roots, berries and reindeer. And although he died in his early twenties, this seemingly ordinary young man would hold the interest of the world in his hands forever more. You see, someone found him, buried in a shallow grave, some 33,000 years later.
Not far from our home for waifs and strays, is this famous cave, known as Paviland, which is easily recognized from the sea but extremely difficult to get to by foot. However, in 1823, long before my kind and unassuming husband and I were born, the Reverend William Buckland, a paleontologist, found the remains of the young man in the cave, behind the skull of a large mammoth, during an archaeological dig.
As daylight poured down the chimney, some 20metres above the chamber where the young man lay, the Reverend made a discovery that would become one of the World’s most important archaeological finds.
The Reverend also noted the red staining of the bones, made by the natural earth pigment, (red ochre) which was sprinkled on the young man at his burial. He also saw the small pile of perforated seashell necklaces and immediately assumed the skeleton to be a woman. Probably a witch, he thought, or a Roman prostitute. So the misidentification led to the young man being called, ‘The Red Lady of Paviland’ which remains today.
There has been much debate regarding the young man’s final resting place, as at present, he is resting at a university in Oxford. I for one, think he should return to his spiritual home in Wales. Perhaps not the magical shamanic site where he was found but certainly let him rest in the area where he was well respected and respect should still remain.