Ask Cavers: What is the Neatest Thing You’ve Found in a Cave?

September 5, 2012
Pot of Bones in a Cave

Photo by Najots/flickr

You never know what you’re going to find in a cave, even if it’s one you visited before. All sorts of different things are hidden in the dark, from the more common bugs, bats, and bones to much stranger occurrences.

This week, we want to know what is the neatest, most exciting thing, you’ve ever found in a cave?

Please share your discoveries with us in the comments section below.

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Comments (15)

  1. Dave J
    September 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    i found a small bat entombed in flowstone in a cave near Nootka on Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada.

  2. September 6, 2012 at 12:19 am

    In New Zealand there are many wilderness areas where caves are being newly discovered. Fossils of the Moa, an extinct giant bird, have been found in many caves and I’ve been fortunate enough to find a complete skeleton lying on top of flowstone in one cave.

  3. Tom Hay
    September 6, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Found two mastodon teeth in a WV cave once. Also found a giant ground sloth toe bone in Scott Hollow.

  4. September 6, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I discovered the signatures of Union Maj. Gen. W. S. Rosecrans, his staff, and many soldiers on the walls of a dead-end room in a Confederate saltpeter cave in north Alabama. Subsequent research revealed that his army had discovered the mining operation and entered to capture the miners, but the Rebs eluded them. While soldiers looked for the way back out, the general passed the time by writing on the walls. Rosecrans was defeated at the battle of Chicamauga on the following day.

  5. Steven Tucker
    September 6, 2012 at 8:21 am

    One strange one I know of in South Africa, wasn’t seen by myself, but someone I cave with. He visited a cave in Mpumalanga about 4 years ago and there were 3 human skulls set up in a kind of shrine inside the cave. He went back to the cave a year later and then there were 4 skulls.

  6. Mudman
    September 6, 2012 at 8:58 am

    There does not seem to be much to find in Texas caves other than finding new passage and being underground in the mud.

  7. David
    September 6, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I found bear bones deep inside a cave with no known entrance that a bear could have passed through.

  8. Evad
    September 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Human skull fragment while performing a biological survey in San Antonio, TX. A single arrowhead was with it; however, no other bones were discovered.

  9. Steve Baldwin
    September 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Lots and lots of “nothing”. Actually, I found an old honey can that was used with a candle in a cave that was intersected by a mine shaft in about 1872.

  10. star
    September 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    A bat skeleton covered in calcite, mastodon tooth and a saltpeter paddle. Some friends of mine found four human skeletons in a cave.

  11. Dan Chase
    September 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I found a nice extinct Bear skull in a pit cave.

  12. Sheri Thurber
    September 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I once was with a group of friends when we found an 8,000 year old Woodland Indian skull.It turned out to be an eight year old boy that had been killed by a wild animal. We also found a very large tooth!

  13. September 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    We found bull elk antlers (6×6!) in a 180-foot deep pit deep in the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana – a natural trap – which we named Tumbull Elk Pit (since the bull “tumbled” in!) Also, a cave in Idaho with a 230-foot entrance drop contains a stainless steel vessel with the ashes of a local hunter, complete with a plaque that was thrown in the pit as well.

  14. Schmoo
    September 10, 2012 at 1:17 am

    I found Taino (indian) bones.

  15. Ernst Kastning
    September 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I came across a bear claw in the NSS owned McFails Cave back in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It is probably from a black bear.

    I also found James Gentry Mitchell’s home-made grappling hook in Schroeder’s Pants Cave in Herkimer County, New York. He took this implement into the cave on that fateful day in the winter of 1965 when he froze to death climbing up a snow-melt waterfall in the pit at the rear of the cave. The NSS Mitchell Award is named after him. A body recovery failed in the days following the accident. His remains were removed only a few years ago.


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