Any real estate professional will tell you that three things determine the value of a home:
Location, location, location.
Because of its location, Russell Cave has been prime real estate for more than 10,000 years. Oriented toward the rising sun, the cave would stay warm in winter and cool in summer. Fresh water nearby would attract game and edible plants. There are even good rocks to make sturdy spear points.
Archaeologists have unearthed evidence that native people sheltered in Russell Cave almost continuously from 6500 B.C. to 1650 A.D. Some were likely nomadic hunters, while others may have lived in the cave year round.
Beneath the cave floor, they found a layer cake of artifacts that span the centuries. Rudimentary spearheads, bows and arrows, and artistic pottery chart the evolution of the people who lived in this part of the Southeast. Several were even buried in Russell Cave, including an infant and 40-year-old woman.
At Russell Cave National Monument, you can see examples of the utilitarian and ceremonial items found in the cave. Learn how the native people lived, what they hunted, and how far they may have traveled from this key point. A half-mile nature trail and a 1.2-mile hiking trail run up Montague Mountain.