Image of Bobcat 8

One of the most interesting uses of Bobcat Cave was for the cold storage of meat. In the deepest reaches of the cave the air temperature was measured at 34º F even during the hottest summer months. Limited test excavations in this lower chamber revealed that just underground is frozen ice. Prehistoric people had dug pits into the ice using elk antler tines as ice picks and rounded river rocks as hammers. The excavations revealed that people probably dug these pits, placed animal meat into them for storage, covered them over with sagebrush mats and then built a small fire on top of the mats to char them. Once charred, the pits were covered over with soil. The purpose of the charred sagebrush mat over the meat is known from other sites and from ethnography. The charcoal mat eliminates escaping odor which might attract scavengers to dig up the stored meat.