Status: Vol. I, Episode 3 (9:00 min); original release 2000

Volume I (half hour) includes episodes 1, 2 and 3

“Saving a Kentucky Time Capsule” documents efforts to preserve dozens of ancient mud glyphs (drawings) discovered deep inside Crumps Cave in Warren County. Archaeologists Valerie Haskins and Dan Davis take viewers on an unforgettable journey to see pristine images carved by American Indians over 1,000 years ago. In 1994, a team of archaeologists and construction workers built the second largest cave gate in the world at the entrance to Crumps Cave. The gate protects a series of rare glyphs – pictures of designs, animals and people – drawn into a mud bank nearly a mile inside the cavern. Crumps Cave also contains prehistoric deposits and two bat species. Before gate construction, archaeologists lead a video crew over rugged terrain, through narrow passages and past an underground pool to document the glyphs. A few have been marred by modern graffiti. Haskins and Davis discuss the significance of the glyphs, their age, and theories as to why American Indians may have carved these and other glyphs in the “dark zones” of dozens of caverns in the eastern U.S. Landowner Bill Mahronic describes preservation issues at Crumps Cave, which is located on private property. Vandals have drawn their initials across some of the ancient mud glyphs. Under previous owners, the vestibule of the cave was looted, destroying 10,000 years of prehistory. David Morgan, retired Director, Kentucky Heritage Council, discusses how Crimps Cave serves as a model for cave preservation efforts. David Foster, American Cave Conservation Association, echoes the importance of preservation, calling the mud glyphs as important as any “Rembrant” archived in museums. (Update): Western Kentucky University purchased the entrance to Crumps Cave with support from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund.


Volume I companion website

Saving a Kentucky Time Capsule media release (PDF)

DVDs: The Kentucky Archaeological Council sells DVDs of this program at cost. Contact David Pollack (859) 257-1944,

Kentucky Archaeology resources – Kentucky Heritage Council/KAS site


“Saving a Kentucky Time Capsule” was made possible with support from the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, Kentucky Heritage Council, Kentucky Humanities Council, National Park Service and Voyageur Media Group, Inc.