“Native Americans DID NOT call it Russell”
Russell Cave is an archaeological site with one of the most complete records of prehistoric cultures in the Southeast. Thousands of years ago a portion of Russell Cave's entrance collapsed, creating a shelter that, for more than 10,000 years, was home to prehistoric peoples. Today it provides clues to the daily lifeways of early North American inhabitants dating from 10,000 B.C. to 1650 A.D.
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.
Russell Cave National Monument gets its name from Thomas Russell and his family. They owned the property when the maps of the area were made around 1835 - 1928.
The area around here is beautiful and the history of the cave is captivating. While I enjoyed my brief stop here, the only part I didn't like is that they had a display in the cave, complete with figures to show what it would look like inhabited, I guess. I could have done without that, but maybe it would be more useful for kids. I still recommend making the trip if you're in the area.
First, if you are going to Russell Cave to go caving, you will be disappointed. The accessible part of the cave is a simple walkway showing a brief history of the many peoples who lived in the cave. The Rangers know the history of the area extremely well, and were able to answer all of the questions my daughter and I had. The weapons demonstrations are informative and fun, and we enjoy hiking through the monument. Every couple of months the Barnard Astronomical Society in Chattanooga has a telescope party at Russell Cave, away from the city lights.
not worth it.
Well worth the drive! Adds an hour from the 24
round trip after seeing everything. Really enjoyed it!
5 stars if you get to go caving.
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Russell Cave National Monument
- Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
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