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.

Rules of 3 for Caving
By Val Hildreth-Werker
easy-to-remember safety suggestions

Minimum Impact Caving Code
By Jim Werker & Val Hildreth-Werker

Burrito Bags How-to
By Jim and Val Hildreth- Werker
Going caving means carrying out all wastes.

Photographic Definitions: Terms for Documentation, Inventory and Monitoring
By Val Hildreth-Werker
Get it straight!

Special Training Needed for Cave Cleanups?
by Bill Halliday

Nasty surprises underground.

Education about caves: Are there side effects?
By John Ganter
Education must be accompanied by protection.

Publicity and Caves: Spiraling Ramifications at Peppersauce
By Ray Keeler

A true story of unintended consequences.

Cultural Site Links

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