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9 December 2007
Prehistoric skeleton goes on display in Wales

A 29,000-year-old skeleton is being displayed in Wales for the first time since it was discovered in a Gower cave in the 1820s. The Red Lady of Paviland, actually the remains of a young male, is the earliest formal human burial to have been found in western Europe. It is now on show at the National Museum in Cardiff (Wales). Artefacts also include a 13th Century figure of Christ, Bronze Age jewellery, a Viking sword guard and a Roman cup. All were found at various locations throughout Wales and are brought together for the first time for the exhibition "Origins: In Search of Early Wales."
     The Red Lady has been loaned to the museum for a year by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. It was discovered at Goat's Hole Cave at Paviland on Gower in 1823 by William Buckland, then a geology professor at Oxford University. Originally thought to be around 25,000 years old, new research recently revealed it dated back another 4,000 years.
     Another highlight on show include one of the ancient stones that once formed part of the Bryn Celli Ddu passage grave. Bryn Celli Ddu, on Anglesey, is one of the best preserved Neolithic burial chambers of its kind, and a replica stone sits in place of the one now housed at the National Museum. The stone is carved with zig-zags and spirals very early Welsh art and is shown alongside a section on early Christian monuments, which looks into rituals and burial practices. The focus of the gallery is on people and change, and the contemporary relevance of artefacts. New specially commissioned artworks complete the display.
    National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP, Cardiff, Wales. Tel: (029) 20397951 - Open: Tues-Sun 10.00-17.00

Sources: BBC News (7 December 2007), 24 Hour Museum (8 December 2007)

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