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Buffalo River Cave Mouth Inventory, 2003

During the last week of June, MWAC Archeologist William Volf and Archaeological Technicians Ricci Sotto and Matt Dooley started the 2003 portion of an inventory of cave sites along Buffalo National River , Arkansas. Volf and MWAC began this project last year in order to provide information needed by the park for long-term planning. While Buffalo River personnel have long been aware of archeological sites in and around areas popular for hiking and caving, the National River had not been exhaustively checked for such resources. Without this information, it is impossible to know which areas to protect. Work in 2002 provided evidence that the archeological resources within and around the mouths of caves here are indeed endangered, making even more clear the need to learn as much as possible about the status of the archaeological record in this area. This information will be used by Buffalo River to develop plans for effective preservation.

Work this year continues to gather information on previously recorded sites, as well as on others that were not known. The team examines cave entrances, twilight zones, and (if feasible) dark zones for evidence of human activity. This is not a simple task; as evident from these photos, just reaching the cave entrances (and enduring the heat, humidity and poison ivy) is quite a job in itself!

Project Photos Main                                    Buffalo River Photos 1 2 3   

How the heck do we get up there?!? (70kb) Well, off we go... (42kb) View from the ledge (55kb) Praying for a GPS reading. (52kb)
Standing at a cave's entrance. (60kb) The view looking out. (42kb) Keeping limber. (57kb) The ridge across the river valley. (38kb)
Recording an archeological site. (44kb) Team member entering the mouth of a cave. (35kb) Examining a ledge for artifacts. (40kb) Looking for a cave to crawl in. (43kb)
Cave mouth. (46kb) MWAC crew gets settled in. (30kb) Hiking through heavy vegetation. (36kb) DSCN1811.jpg (32kb)
Yikes it's hot. (48kb) Yup.  Sure is. (49kb) Taking notes near a cave's entrance. (47kb)  

Park Archeologist Charlotte Hunter and Cave Specialist Chuck Bitting have provided assistance and information indispensible to this cave inventory. Thanks also to Chief of Interpretation Doug Wilson and Park Superintendent Ivan Miller for their support of the project.

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