Saturday, April 21, 2007
Cave of Sighs
I made the name up a few minutes ago. I've not spoken to anyone who knows a name for this cave near Melbourne. I first heard about the site a couple of years ago. I didn't know much at all about it before seeing it today other than that it was frequented by artifact hunters.
It's an amazing cave...a tunnel...possibly even a natural bridge of sorts. It is located in a unique way. Rather than being along a hillside bluff, it is under a ledge of rock in a depression on a rather level plateau-like feature of the landscape. There appears to have been a spring just 150 feet or so from the large entrance which looks as if it flowed into the cave. The cave makes a perfect dwelling...water-fed and well-hidden.
It appears to have been well-used by early inhabitants...and sadly...well-dug by later ones. There are massive excavations inside the cave as well as all over the area in front of the large entrance. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to find an important stone artifact, but the random destruction of the history of this cave is enough to cause one to actively support the laws against it.
Personally, I think the Native-American history of this county has been neglected. Not only this county, but the whole of the Araknsas Ozarks. And...not only neglected...but abused. I often ponder as to why the State of Arkansas has not given tribute to the rich pre-historic and native-American cultures that thrived in this area because of it's abundance of water and wildlife...as well as natural shelter. I mourn the loss of all that history that has been dug out of the many caves in the county.
This cave is the victim of word-of-mouth advertising. It is a perfect example of why I am motivated not to give locations of caves...especially caves on private property.
You'll noticed I have made a point of showing the abandoned tools of amateur archaeology. You may also notice that i've shown some of the broken tips and flint-knap tailings that are displayed atop flat rocks scattered all over the inside and outside of the cave.
A neighbor to this property told me as I questioned him about the place, that in the distant past he's heard of many, many artifacts coming from the cave. From what I can tell, there has been little let up in the digging...some digs were quite recent.
Every cave we show on this blog has evidence of digging...it's an inevitable find in each new cave we visit. Some caves are more disturbed than others. Other caves are often spotted with sizeable pits. This cave, however, takes the proverbial cake.
Now you know why I've temporarily named the (probably historically important) cave "The Cave of Sighs".
If anyone visiting EIC recognizes the cave and knows its name, please let me know.