THE chairman of Swansea's tourism association is backing an Elgin Marbles style campaign to secure the return to Wales of the Red Lady of Paviland.
The skeleton of the "red lady", complete with jewellery and a mammoth's head grave marker, is regarded as one of the world's most important archaeological finds.
It was discovered in 1823 at Paviland Cave on Gower.
Later analysis showed the skeleton to be that of a man, probably a chieftain, but the Red Lady tag has stuck.
Despite being found in Swansea the remains have been on show for decades at the Oxford University Natural History Museum.
Earlier this year, Swansea councillor Ioan Richard began a campaign to have the Red Lady returned to Wales. Now, Geoff Haden, chairman of Tourism Swansea, wants to step up the pressure on the Oxford museum.
He said the rainy summer this year emphasised what a great wet weather draw the Red Lady could be.
He said, "We are suggesting an interpretive visitor centre near Paviland Cave or possibly at the Gower Heritage Centre, which would be a wet weather and an all- year-round attraction. This is something we must follow up."
The Gower Society is behind the campaign to have the Red Lady returned. The bones date back to 24,000 BC, pre-dating Stonehenge by 20,000 years.
The skeleton was taken from Wales and never returned within a year of being found. Mr Richard said, "Just like the Elgin Marbles were taken from Greece this very important piece of history was taken from us by the English."
The Red Lady of Paviland was excavated by the Reverend William Buckland, who was the first Professor of Geology at Oxford University at the time. As a result the skeleton was taken to Oxford.
There is a dispute about how well the Red Lady's remains are displayed. David Laws of Oxwich, Gower, visited the exhibit and found it "in a dusty cabinet". He labelled the display "pathetic".
But Professor Jim Kennedy, the director of the museum, said the Red Lady was being kept in a "beautiful, hardwood cabinet".
He said, "This is a bit like the Elgin Marbles because who can say who really owns them?"
Museum administrator Wendy Shepherd said there was "not a chance" of bringing the remains back to South Wales.
"This goes back to the days when the archaeologists who made finds had the final say on where they should be exhibited."