The richest Early Upper Palaeolithic cave site in Britain, noted for the discovery in 1823 (by the Reverend Buckland) of an adult male skeleton (the so-called 'Red Lady') covered in red ochre and ceremonially buried with ivory ornaments and perforated sea shells.
Recent re-excavation of the site combined with a re-evaluation of the previously excavated artefacts and a suite of radiocarbon dates indicates that the human presence here dates back 50,000 years. The presence of an anatomically modern human around 26,000 BP raises questions about the timing of the colonisation of the British Peninsula by modern humans.
Reported in: S.Aldhouse-Green, Paviland Cave and the Red Lady (Newport 2000)
An eroded cleft in the rock, the cave is a 22m long passage, width variable but maximum about 6m, height 10m at entrance tapering to rear. The ceiling is marked by a chimney which rises from a point about one third of the way in on the E side.
There are two floor hollows on the W side which contain (relatively) undisturbed deposits.
Surveyed D.K.Leighton July-August 1997