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Fort Rock Cave

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Title: Fort Rock Cave  
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Subject: Paisley Caves, Marmes Rockshelter, History of Oregon, Areni-1 shoe, Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Plateau
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Fort Rock Cave

Fort Rock Cave
University of Oregon archaeological excavations at Fort Rock Cave, 1966
Location Address restricted[1]
Nearest city Fort Rock, Oregon
NRHP Reference # 66000641
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966
Designated NHL January 20, 1961

Fort Rock Cave was the site of the earliest evidence of human habitation in the U.S. state of Oregon prior to excavation of Paisley Caves. Fort Rock Cave featured numerous well-preserved sagebrush sandals, ranging from 9,000 to 13,000 years old.[2] The cave is located approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of Fort Rock near Fort Rock State Natural Area in Lake County.[3] Fort Rock Cave was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961,[4] and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.[5]

The cave was found on Reub Long's ranch. It was formerly known as Menkenmaier Cave and Cow Cave.[6][7]


University of Oregon archaeologist Luther Cressman's 1938 excavations at Fort Rock Cave placed human habitation in Oregon as early as 13,200 years ago.[2][8][9] Cressman's team also recovered numerous examples of sandals woven from sagebrush bark below a layer of Mazama Ash (deposited by the explosion forming Crater Lake about 7600 years ago). Radiocarbon dating of these sandals, now displayed at the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History in Eugene and in the town of Fort Rock, has shown some to be over 10,000 years old. This sandal style is known as Fort Rock style, since they were first discovered there. This sandal style is distinct from other variants; they are flat, closed toed and have a twined sole.[10] They have been found at other sites, such as Cougar Mountain and Catlow Caves, as well.[9][11] Several other prehistoric artifacts have been found at Fort Rock Cave, including basketry and stone tools.[12] The artifacts found by Stephen Bedwell in 1970 were found in one of the remaining unvandalized areas of the cave.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Federal and state laws and practices restrict general public access to information regarding the specific location of sensitive  .
  2. ^ a b Robbins, William G. (2005). Oregon: This Storied Land. Oregon Historical Society Press.  
  3. ^ "Fort Rock Cave, Oregon". Archeological Society of Central Oregon. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  4. ^ "Fort Rock Cave". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  5. ^  .
  6. ^ Brogan, Phil (16 June 1975). "Geographic board okays naming cave after Long".  
  7. ^ "Fort Rock: It's too small for a beer license".  
  8. ^ "Fort Rock State Natural Area". Oregon State Parks. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  9. ^ a b "World's Oldest Shoes". University of Oregon. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  10. ^ "Fort Rock Sandals". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Tucker, Kathy (2002). "Fort Rock Sandals". Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  12. ^ a b "Cultural Sequence in the Northern Great Basin: The View From Fort Rock". University of Oregon Department of Anthropology. Archived from the original on 2004-07-15. Retrieved 2011-08-16. 

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