Checking out a natural rock shelter in the hills of Northern Alabama with possibly ancient carbon stains from campfire smoke
I came upon this beautiful, natural rock shelter on a hike in Little River Falls Canyon in the hills of Northern Alabama. There are a lot of carbon stains from campfires on the ceiling of the shelter, which makes me wonder how far back the usage may go.
In this shelter, there appear to be visible stains from more recent campfires, but the soot on the ceiling above could potentially stretch back for eons. Here’s a quote from a National Park Service document: “The cultural resources located within Little River Canyon National Preserve represent more than 10,000 years of human habitation and history in the region. There are more than 150 archeological sites within the preserve, including rock shelters with archeological materials.”
Little River Canyon National Preserve is also the deepest canyon in the State of Alabama, and one of the deepest east of the Mississippi River.
If you go, remember that looting and metal detecting are not allowed in the protected areas. Please don’t disturb Native American sites and don’t steal artifacts.
Are you an expert? What can you see in this brief video clip?
I realize it’s a poor quality video, shot in a very dark space, but if you’re an archaeologist or other expert on such things, be sure to comment or send an email and let me know what you can see in the video.
iPhone photographs from the site
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NPS.Gov. “Foundation Document, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama.” PDF. Accessed July 12, 2021.
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