May 11, 1961
Pres. John F. Kennedy named Russell Cave in Jackson County a National Monument. Part of a system of interconnected caves that stretches about seven miles, the entrance to Russell Cave formed about 11,000 years ago and is an important archaeological site. Archaeological teams have excavated more than 30 feet into the cave floor and unearthed human artifacts dating back to roughly 6,550 years ago. Several burials containing human remains may date back more than 8,000 years. Today, the cave is maintained by the National Park Service, houses a museum with displays of artifacts and hosts an annual Native American festival each spring.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Entrance to Russell Cave National Monument. The cave is at the base of Montague Mountain. (Erin Harney/Alabama NewsCenter)
Visitor Center at Russell Cave National Monument. (Erin Harney/Alabama NewsCenter)
“Russell Cave has a mapped length of 7.2 miles, only a fraction of which are buried under park lands,” states the NPS. (NPS)
View from inside the cave shelter. (NPS)
In the summer of 2016, The University of the South led an archaeological field school at Russell Cave. It was the first major archaeological excavation at the site in over 50 years. (Erin Harney/Alabama NewsCenter)
There are over 2.5 miles of nature trails at Russell Cave National Monument. (Erin Harney/Alabama NewsCenter)
Museum at the Russell Cave National Monument Visitor Center. (Erin Harney/Alabama NewsCenter)
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