Initially formed as caverns and tunnels by underground streams, Russell Cave became habitable 9,000-11,000 years ago and contains one of the most complete archeological records of prehistoric cultures discovered in North America. Smithsonian Institution archeologists have dug more than 30 feet below the cave’s present floor, uncovering tools, weapons, pottery, and campfire hearths and ceremonial goods that tell the story of the ebb and flow of habitation over thousands of years. The cave is named for Revolutionary War veteran, Colonel Thomas Russell, who owned the property in the 1800s following indigenous removal. It is maintained as a National Monument by the US Dept. of Interior.