Image of Helicopter

Aviator’s Cave was discovered by Idaho National Laboratory (INL) security helicopter pilots on a frigid day during the winter of 1987-88 when they noticed fog rising from a crevice in the ground. Thinking it might be smoke from a trespasser’s campfire they landed. Instead of a trespasser they found an undisturbed archaeological site with remarkable preservation of even the most fragile and delicate perishable artifacts. Because of the uniqueness of the site the INL coordinated with Idaho State University to excavate a small exploratory trench conducted by students under the direction of Professor Ernest “Skip” Lohse. A report summarizing the findings was published in 1989 entitled Aviator’s Cave in the journal Idaho Archaeologist volume 12(2) pages 23-28 (photo used by permission of the Idaho National Laboratory and the Idaho Museum of Natural History).