Scientists are currently exploring a mysterious passageway under the world’s longest known cave system. Their mission has been successful so far and the researchers have uncovered several interesting historical artifacts. Located in Kentucky, USA, the Mammoth Cave has been fascinating to people for thousands of years.
Mammoth Cave National Park is known for housing the world’s longest cave system, with over 405 miles (651 km) mapped. The vast cavern system was formed by water slowly dissolving Mississippian-aged carbonate rocks, creating sinkholes, tunnels, and underground rivers. The cave’s natural extensive labyrinth still holds many secrets.
Archeologists from the National Park Service and the University of Idaho found artifacts —including coke bottles, ticket stubs, ceramic pieces and other items from over 200 years ago, according to Bowling Green Daily news.
Water cascading from the limestone layers at the entrance—which has been used for over 5,000 years —has revealed more features inside the pit. Kailey Alessi, a University of Idaho master’s student researching the cave, told the Bowling Green Daily News that researchers found evidence of prehistoric peoples who lit fires in the cave.
Historians believe a 50 feet vertical pit directly below the waterfall at Mammoth Cave’s entrance was filled around the 1810s during the saltpeter mining operation, according to a statement on the park’s Facebook page. The assumption is based on a historical map from 1835 identifying a passage as “filled,” the AP reports.
“This project will provide researchers and scientists with even more information about the cultural and natural resources of Mammoth Cave and help us learn how to better protect and interpret the park for you and future generations,” the Facebook post read.
Significant discoveries in geology, hydrology, speleology, archaeology, biology, and microbiology have come from research at Mammoth Cave, according to National Park Service.