Skeleton of arthritis-suffering neolithic woman at centre of archaeological crowdfunding bid

By Ben Miller | 19 October 2014

Blodwen, the 5,500-year-old skeleton of Llandudno, could have been an elder who suffered arthritis and cancer

A photo of a human skeleton laid out across a green table
Blodwen is a Neolithic skeleton recovered on the Little Orme at the end of the 19th century© Courtesy Llandudno Museum
The "special" skeleton of a hardworking lady who lived in neolithic Wales 5,500 years ago will be given a fitting public showcase if a six-week crowdfunding appeal succeeds in raising £3,000.

The remains of the woman, who is known as Blodwen and suffered arthritis and cancer, have been held by a natural history society in Lancashire since being discovered on Little Orme in 1891.

A photo of a human skull and bones
Blodwen has been in Lancashire with the Bacup Natural History Society since her discovery© Courtesy Llandudno Museum
Curators hope to create an exhibition, display case and community programme after welcoming the bones back to the region in 2015.

"Blodwen provides us with a window into Llandudno's ancient past more than 5,000 years ago," says Helen Bradley, of Llandudno Museum.

"Her bones tell us that she was in her late 50s to early 60s when she died and that she was used to hard work and suffered with arthritis.

"We also know that Blodwen had secondary cancer, although we can't be sure whether this caused her death.

"Her advanced age suggests that she may even have been a respected elder within her community.

"Blodwen is very close to a lot of peoples’ hearts in Llandudno.

"She’s such a special part of our heritage, and local people love to imagine what her life may have been like – where did she live, how did she see the world, what did the landscape look like 5,500 years ago?

"Imagine Blodwen's world - coming from a small farming community, perhaps somewhere near to the Litte Orme where she was found.

"Blodwen provides us with a real link to our distant past, and I think it’s wonderful that the museum wishes to bring the community together to celebrate Blodwen and provide people with a way to learn more about life in Neolithic in North Wales.

"We want to tell Blodwen's story for the benefit of everyone who comes to see her.

"We want to join with the wider community to celebrate this hugely important part of our shared heritage."

Guided tours of the museum, inclusion in a friends scheme, an invite to the launch of the exhibition and annual or unlimited free entry are among the rewards for donators, with pledges starting at £5.


A photo of a human skeleton laid out across a green table
Blodwen will return to Llandudno in early 2015© Courtesy Llandudno Museum
A photo of a vast coast as seen from the top of a grassy cliff
The museum is appealing for funding to give Blodwen a fitting display© Courtesy Llandudno Museum
A photo of large neolithic stones on a hill
The appeal will run for six weeks© Courtesy Llandudno Museum
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