History & Culture
To characterize the evolving stages of civilization in southeastern America before European contact, archeologists have established a general cultural sequence: Paleo, Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian.
For most of Russell Cave's 10,000 years of human use, its inhabitants were in the Archaic stage. The cave was one of thousands of southeastern Archaic sites. Recent evidence indicates that the earliest users of the cave were actually at the transitional stage between Paleo and Archaic. During the Paleo period they still depended to a great extent on hunting large animals rather than exploiting a wider range of resources.
Did You Know?
Most of the pottery found at Russell Cave is less than 2500 years old. Some pottery types lasted for hundreds of years while others were only used a few years. The last pottery used in the Cave was broken around A.D. 1500 to 1650.