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Caves have been the site of spiritual practices in Minoan, Greek, and Mayan civilizations to name a few. The caves of our imaginations may be terrifying gateways to the world of death, or comforting and womb-like in their protective walls. Legend and country music offer an archetypal cave, extending in a vast maze, in which a fugitive takes refuge, a sanctuary as long as the fugitive doesn't meet his end trapped in his own labyrinth.
Outlaws, Israelites, early Christians, and Neanderthals have taken shelter underground, to escape persecution, the law, or an ice age. In spite of their reputation as the lair of lions, bears, and monsters, most, though not all, caves harbor nothing larger than a packrat. In harshly cold or hot climates, most caves maintain a constant and moderate temperature throughout the seasons.
The human history
preserved in caves can be astonishingly beautiful, and telling. Although
not the earliest evidence of human artistic endeavor, the 30,000-15,000
year old span of cave painting is surely the most vivid and monumental
Upper Paleolithic artwork. In one cave, a trail of footprints preserved
in the floor show that our ancestors had the same curiosity to push as
far as they could go that is found in explorers of our own time.
of 3 for Caving
Impact Caving Code
Definitions: Terms for Documentation, Inventory and Monitoring
Training Needed for Cave Cleanups?
about caves: Are there side effects?
and Caves: Spiraling Ramifications at Peppersauce
and their contents © Copyright 2001-2004 by the Conservation Division
of the National Speleological Society, except where otherwise noted.