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19 March 2005
Bronze Age skeletons found in closet

Skeletons in the closet were a real-life problem for Ashford Price when he opened a cupboard in his late aunt's bedroom to be confronted with dozens of human remains. The Georgian townhouse in Swansea (Wales) had hidden a secret for decades until its owner, Brenda Morgan, 84, passed away. Police were immediately called after the discovery, but suspicions were dampened when it was noticed all the bones had been carefully cleaned and numbered. The remains were in fact 42 human skeletons dating back over 3,000 years to the Bronze Age. They had been discovered at Dan yr Ogof caves by the Morgan family 80 years ago. Now, in one of the most unusual ceremonies ever performed, the bones will be returned whence they came and reburied in "Bone Cave".
     Mr Price, whose family own the show caves in the Swansea Valley, said, "My family have been here for yonks and in the 1920s and '30s they found the skeletons. But it was not apparent what had happened to many of them until 18 months ago, when my aunt, whose father helped discover the caves, passed away. There was an absolutely huge oak wardrobe in one of her bedrooms and inside I found these large packing cases. I got a colleague with me to help pull them out and found hundreds of bones. Of course I called the police. Happily they were part of the original cave dwellers' remains from Dan yr Ogof."
     The skeletons were discovered after long archaeological excavations decades ago, but in 1940 during the war the caves were taken over by the Ministry of Defence. They were used to store ammunition and art treasures for fear of Nazi invasion, but the skeletons were removed for safe keeping - then later assumed lost.
     It seems the Bone Cave has been a shelter or home for man during many different periods of time. Items such as bone pins, pottery, coins, iron, bronze and silver rings have been found in the cave, as well as relics dated to the time when Roman legions were stationed in the area. Some of the bones will remain visible to the public at Dan yr Ogof show caves after the reburial.

Source: Western Mail, icWales (16 March 2005)

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