National Geographic : 1958 Mar
Russell Cave's Rocky Vault Preserves . . the Story of Ancient Americans As big as an auditorium, the limestone cave yawns from a mountainside in northeastern Alabama. In two seasons of work here National Geo graphic Society-Smithsonian Institution teams have dug 32 feet into the cave floor and 9,000 years back in time. Stout wire fences protect their discoveries from curiosity seekers. Ladder of time marks each foot of the dig. Most recent Indian remains, only a few inches deep, date from about A. D. 1650. Oldest dis covery, the charcoal of a smothered fire, came to light 23 feet down, or 10 feet beneath the lowest sign. Radiocarbon tests have dated it as 9,020 years old, plus or minus 350. 430 BIRTH OF CHRIST 781BC MOSES OUT OF EGYPT CA19S C PYRAMID OF GIZEH CA 2lzt ITs POTTERy CA 5008C straight-sided eyes, through which they thread animal sinew or gut. Naked children dash hither and yon about the mouth of the cave, playing the boisterous games of youth. As sunset nears, the men return to divide their kill. If the hunt has been good, no one will go hungry. LATE ARCHAIC Soon each family gathers around its fire to aeat, laugh, and boast of the day's experi ences. Then the hubbub in the cave gradually dies. Only the glow of dying embers testi fies that humans are here, asleep. Generation after generation this life goes on. Whenever the stench of gnawed bones and piles of rubbish becomes too much for even these untidy people, the women bring in bas ketfuls of earth and spread a clean new floor. Thus they preserve, for archeologists of the future, a lasting record of their way of life.