Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 59 Number 3: 143-147 -December 1997

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Science Versus Grave Desecration: The Saga of Lake Hole Cave
Thomas R. Whyte and Lary R. Kimball


In the spring of 1990, a prehistoric burial site in a small cave in Cherokee National Forest, Johnson County, Tennessee was almost completely destroyed by artifact collectors. Archaeological investigation of the disturbed deposits, conducted with the consent of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, yielded thousands of human skeletal remains, faunal remains, and artifacts. There may be hundreds of similar sites yet undiscovered within limestone and dolomite rocks of the southern Appalachian region. Efforts should be made by scientists and government agencies to discover prehistoric burial caves and to protect them, as American natives consider them sacred places.

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