. . Crystal Onyx Cave . . . We're Not Mammoth, but we are Spectacular

Discovery of 3600 Year Old Bones

Glasgow Daily Times 21 Sept. 1960. Cave Visitors
Glasgow Daily Times 21 Sept. 1960. Delicate Operation
A picture of the bones from an early brochure.

Excerpt from an unattributed article - We don’t know when or where it was published:


… These caves that helped breathe life into the Indians also served as a final resting place for their dead. Several caves atop Pruitts Knob, located 2 miles east of Cave City, were found to possess these Indian remains. The main commercial cave, Crystal Onyx Cave, discovered in 1960, yielded evidence of 58 Indian remains inside. It is possible that the Indians found the caves or pits and decided to use them as a final resting place for their dead. It is believed that the Indians may have believed these caves as being sacred to them and thought these pits that lead into the earth would help to release their dead into a sort of afterlife or reincarnation. So through this, they returned to Pruitts Knob to continue this process of burial. 

From samples taken from Crystal Onyx Cave and other pits on the Knob, it is revealed from a carbon 14 dating test, that the Indians buried their dead 2,700 years ago which perfectly coincides with the existence of the Late Archaic Early Woodland tribe.

Other tests on the remains bring forth strange burial procedures. It is shown that on some of the bones a sharp object was used to remove skin from the body, a process known today as disarticulation. It is believed the Indians thought this would help release the spirit from the body. It is also apparent from the remains buried in th cave that the were not particular about who were buried in the cave. Adult bones, children’s bones, and even evidence of bones from mothers who were still in the gestation period of pregnancy were buried here as well.

In addition, studies done on the teeth of the remains reveal the true dietary habits of the Indians. Because of many worn teeth and few cavities, it was obvious that these people ate very hard foods. Like mentioned earlier, these foods are hickory nuts, berries, and meats collected from wild game. Even evidence of their poor diet revealed many of these Indians suffered from chronic cases of arthritis.

Though much of what is presented here seems very savage to us today, the way of life for these Indians was just that, their way of life. Who knows, the exploration of space today, was likely the exploration of these same forests some 3,000 years ago.

Now Open Daily

One of the most beautiful caves in Kentucky!

Open from 11 a.m. to the last tour at 8 pm.  Come and visit us!

Crystal Onyx Cave * 425 Prewitt’s Knob Road, Cave City, KY 42127 * (270)773-3377