Cave Archaeology

Cave Archaeology

Rock Art  │ Fossils │ Stone Tools │ Pottery

Most people are unaware that many of the world’s most notable archaeological (ancient humans) and paleontological (ancient organisms) discoveries have been in caves across the globe, including caves in the state of Missouri. Evidence shows that humans have been utilizing Missouri caves for thousands of years and ancient organisms in Missouri caves date back hundreds of millions of years.


Prehistoric Man’s Use of Caves

Prehistoric humans used caves for many purposes, including shelter, ceremony and burial of the dead. Many fossils in caves were deposited in the limestone or dolomite when, over the span of millions of years, organisms lived and died in the seas and formed the bedrock in which caves now exist. Other fossils were deposited later when organisms used, died in or where brought into caves by predators.

Cave Environments Preserve the Record

Paleontological and archaeological sites in caves offer researchers and scientists vast amounts of data. The protective cave environment preserves the record versus exposure to the surface elements. Therefore, it is vital that we do whatever we can to protect and preserve caves, and the irreplaceable artifacts found within them. In caves, we are able to locate rock art, fossils, stone tools, pottery and bones that tell us a great deal about the people and animals that once inhabited Missouri. If you believe you have found a paleontological or archaeological site, please leave it undisturbed.

Missouri State Laws Protect Archaeological Sites in Caves

Contact the MCKC about arranging a professional survey. State law can protect archaeological sites in caves once identified and submitted to the State of Missouri.

If you have questions about our organization, would like a permit to visit an MCKC managed cave or need help managing a cave on your property, we invite you to contact us.