05 March, 2011

Danger Cave & Juke Box Cave

I was privileged enough to go on a field trip with Kevin Jones (State Archaeologist) and Ron Rood (Assistant State Archaeologist) to Danger Cave and Juke Box Cave. 

The caves are part of Danger Cave State Park, which was set aside because of its prehistorical significance but never developed due to lack of funding. Archaeological digs in the 1940s and 1950s found evidence of some of the earliest human habitation in the Great Basin, going back more than 10,000 years in Danger Cave and 7,000 years in Juke Box.

(Click on pictures to view them larger).

Danger Cave:

Danger Cave
Danger Cave is a North American Archaeological site located in the Bonneville Basin of western Utah around the Great Salt Lakes region, that features artifacts of the Desert Culture from ca. 9500 BCE until ca. 500 CE. Through carbon-14 dating, it has been determined that there is very little evidence of human life in the Danger Cave area in 11,000 BP, but there is much evidence of human life by 9,000 BP. (Read more about Danger Cave here).
Opening of Danger Cave

Inside the cave looking back out.
Excavation pits.

Excavation Pit.
Kevin Jones explaining the layers.
The Dark areas are from fires burning inside the cave and fire places. Many layers are pickle weed chaff.

Juke Box Cave:

Juke Box Cave opening.

Juke Box was so named because a concrete floor was poured in the cavern during World War II and it was used as a dance hall by airmen stationed at Wendover.

Inside Juke Box Cave. In the back you can see the dust and dirt covered cement dance floor.
Rock art with rare horse back riders. Possibly dating around the 1600s.

Layers building up to the opening. Bottom Right, excavation trench showing layers.
Looking back up to the cave opening.

 As we exited the cave, three curious big horn sheep peered down at us as they passed.

Lake Bonneville Salt Flat layers:

Trench dug out in front of Juke Box Cave.
Lake Bonneville was a large, ancient lake that existed from about 32 to 14 thousand years ago.  It occupied the lowest, closed depression in the eastern Great Basin and at its largest extent covered about 20,000 square miles of western Utah and smaller portions of eastern Nevada and southern Idaho.

Sources and more info: