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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

A Very Early Date for Prehistoric Cave Use in the Eastern Woodlands

Jan F. SimekCollege of Arts and Sciences - Anthropology
Around 6,500 years ago (if not before), prehistoric Native Americans explored deep into the dark zone of Tennessee’s 49th Unnamed Cave, perhaps buried their dead in the mouth of the cave, and may have made petroglyphs on the cave wall.  This age is older by nearly 800 years than evidence previously identified as eastern North America’s earliest dark zone cave use.  The 49th Unnamed Cave has a checkered history of looting, reburial, and difficulties with resource protection, and these issues will be discussed in light of its archaeological record.

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