Little Bits of History

Mammoth Mammoth Cave

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 9, 2014
Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park

September 9, 1972: The Mammoth Cave National Park becomes truly mammoth. The cave system is located in central Kentucky in the US. It was established on July 1, 1941 as a national park. It became a World Heritage Site on October 27, 1981 and an international Biosphere Reserve on September 26, 1990. The park today encompasses 52.830 acres and is centered around the Green River. The limestone strata is topped by a layer of sandstone which makes the cave system especially stable. While it is not growing as in more cave being developed, it is growing each year as more passageways are discovered and mapped.

The cave has been of interest to human for at least 6,000 years. There were several sets of Native American remains located within the caves. These mummified remains seem to be intentional burials. Not all bodies are such and one pre-Columbian miner has been found trapped under a large boulder. Spelunking today has a panoply of equipment making it safer and easier to go into large cave systems. In order to study the caves and the people who used them thousands of years ago, a new type of archeological research has been developed. Experimental archeology uses technology that would have been available to these long ago cultures. Human and archeological remains found in the caves are protected by various federal and state laws.

The caves were known and used long  before they became nationalized. Throughout history, there have been people poking around the caves and maps drawn about them. It took the federal government quite some time to establish this national treasure as private owners had sway over parts of the system. As more lands became available, the federal government brought the land into the system. More exploration was done on the caves and continued throughout the early years of the park’s existence. On this day, a six person team broke through and found a link between the Mammoth and Flint Ridge Cave Systems. This extended the reach of the entire system to 144.4 miles.

This was not the end of exploration. Rather, it seems to spur on other ventures and the caves have been studied with ever more mapping and extensions found. Today, there are over 400 miles of explored caves. There are two other nearby cave systems, the Fisher Ridge and the Martin Ridge Cave Systems. Together, they have over 150 miles of mapped underground terrain. They have not yet been found to be connected to the Mammoth-Flint Ridge system. Exploration continues into the fascinating and unique system, the longest cave system in the world by orders of magnitude.

I’d rather live in a cave with a view of a palace than live in a palace with a view of a cave. – Karl Pilkington

Just as our ancient ancestors drew animals on cave walls and carved animals from wood and bone, we decorate our homes with animal prints and motifs, give our children stuffed animals to clutch, cartoon animals to watch, animal stories to read. – Diane Ackerman

One just principle from the depths of a cave is more powerful than an army. – Jose Marti

You can go into caves, and they can maintain constant conditions of temperature and humidity over long periods of time, even though the outside temperature may be way above what it is inside the cave. – Hendrik Poinar

Also on this day: Stop Bugging Me – In 1947, a computer bug was found.
Billion Dollar Betsy – In 1965, Hurricane Betsy became the first US billion dollar hurricane.
Prison Riot – In 1971, the Attica Prison Riots began.
Crimean War – In 1855, the Siege of Sevastopol ended.

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3 Responses

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  1. tkmorin said, on September 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Wow! And 6,000 years? Amazing!! Thank you for the post!

    • patriciahysell said, on September 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      After writing this, I asked my husband if we could go and visit. We hope to get there next year.

      • tkmorin said, on September 10, 2014 at 6:43 pm

        I certainly wish it for you! Amazing! 🙂


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