THE WORLEY COLLECTION

(The following synopsis relative to the Worley Collection was assembled from articles from the "Birmingham News" dated October 15, 1961 October 29, 1961 and September 9, 1962.)

 

This collection of artifacts was unearthed from a cave in Colbert County, Alabama during the summer of 1961.  The whole project being an undertaking by the Alabama Archaeological Society under the direction of David DeJarnett, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama.

The location, or "dig" was known as the Stanfield Worley Bluff Shelter and housed artifacts carbon dated to 9,640 years ago with a plus or minus factor of 450 years.. The dig shows conclusively that the shelter was occupied intermittently by many Indian groups. They had selected a cave of magnificent proportions.  The cave area was approximately 12 feet off the valley floor, extended 50 feet back and 150 feet across.  The site itself sets back seven miles south of the Tennessee River near Tuscumbia.

The inhabitants of the cave were an early group of hunting people. They were the last of their kind to inhabit the great Tennessee Valley. These men, some 10,000 years ago, matched wits, often successfully, with space rocket sized mammoths, cave bears, giant armadillos and jaguars to name a few.  Their flint craftsmanship was superb.  The highly developed spear points remain until this day, testifying to their skill.

Two burials contained caches of flint points, scrapers, and needles of bone, while upper levels of the cave produced a rich profusion of pottery bits, or shards, as they are called.

The Indian burials, 11 in all, are still among the most important finds in the Southeast.