Gower Peninsula


Paviland Caves




Paviland Caves are the most famous of all the Gower caves and Goatís Hole cave is one of the most important Paleolithic sites in Britain. Houndís Hole is the smaller of the two caves. To access the caves leave the South Gower road at Pilton Green and follow the footpath towards the sea where the caves are located near the base of Yellow Top headland so called because of the lichen covered stones.

At low tide it is possible to access Goatís Hole with a little agility but once the tide comes in the cave becomes cut off and is best avoided.

The first discoveries of bones were found by two Reynoldston men in the 19th century who referred their find to more knowledgeable local enthusiasts who in turn informed the Rev Buckland, Professor of Geology at Oxford. He visited Paviland in 1823 and on excavating the cave uncovered the part skeleton of a human. The bones were stained a reddish colour and became known as The Red Lady of Paviland.

Radio carbon dating and more sophisticated investigation confirmed the skeleton to be approximately twenty four thousand years old and a male who had died at around the age of twenty five. This would have been middle aged in those days!

Thousand of articles were found in the cave ranging from flint stones to a carved ivory necklaces and bone needles. The inhabitants of the cave would have been nomadic hunters who relied on catching animals such as reindeer (during the Ice Age) for survival.

The original Paviland skeleton is to be found in the University Museum at Oxford while a replica is on display at the Swansea museum.


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