National Geographic : 1956 Oct
An Anthill of Human Progress Is Laid Bare Last spring a National Geographic Society-Smithsonian Insti tution Expedition began probing the floor of Russell Cave in Jackson County, Alabama. Stratum by stratum, beginning with an overlay of rubbish left by recent visitors, the excavators dug through the muck of ages (opposite). Fourteen feet down they uncovered ground last trod by men some 8,000 years ago. From that horizon, they con cluded, no archeological site in the United States more vividly portrayed the American Indian's cultural evolution from his Stone Age ancestors. Human foible aided the diggers. The cave dwellers, instead of sweeping out their trash, merely buried it-and sometimes their dead relatives-under fresh layers of preserving earth. In future the archeologists will delve anew, hoping that men even more ancient were untidy housekeepers, too. +Diagram shows the top of the mountain ridge lifted to reveal the theater-size cavern. The entrance gapes 107 feet wide. Dry Creek, belying its name, usually runs cold and clear. area oL L c.