Kit 'n' Kaboodle Cave

Caver Kevin Allred overlooks Gold Harbor from a mountaintop in 2002. On the right is Gold Harbor from the shore near Kit 'n' Kaboodle Cave. Note the Forester Islands in the background in both photos.

South of Enigma Cave is another cave on Dall Island that is of interest to archaeologists and paleontologists. Kit 'n' Kaboodle Cave is located in Gold Harbor, which opens westward to the Pacific Ocean (see photos above). The cave is only about 30 meters from the beach and 20 meters above sea level. In spite of its proximity to the coast it is not a sea cave, but is a solution cave that has formed in a brecciated marble. The has a large floor area but in most places a low ceiling. A large spring emerges at sea level directly below the cave, and running water can be heard within the cave. This resurgence drains a lake that is located 1 km east of the cave. The cave probably formed when this spring drained at a slightly higher elevation.

The large entrance room of Kit 'n' Kaboodle Cave has several openings to the outside, two of which are shown in the photos above. Note the large black midden of shells and other debris in the foreground of the left photo.

Kit 'n' Kaboodle Cave has several entrances leading into a large entrance room (see photos below). Shell middens are present at several of the entrances, showing that prehistoric humans used this site as a shelter. Archaeologists Jon Erlandson and Madonna Moss made a preliminary investigation of the middens and obtained radiocarbon dates as old as 5,500 years. Barnacles were found to be the dominant type of shell in the midden in some levels and must therefore have been a primary dietary staple!

The large midden in the main cave entrance (left) is made mostly of mussel shells but contains bone and wood as well. The white deer jaw and ribs in the foreground probably postdate the midden. A shelter just north of the cave (right) is where Erlandson and Moss found the oldest midden.

The large entrance room contains slabs of rockfall from the cave roof and ledges at various levels. The cave continues behind the entrance room for about 150 meters with several side passages. Cobbles and gravel are present throughout much of the cave, but bedrock and silty sediments are exposed on much of the floor area as well. The cave was surveyed for fossils in July of 2002 by Tim Heaton and Fred Grady (exclusive of the cultural middens and entrance areas). A variety of bones were found throughout the cave, mostly in low crawlways far from the entrance. These included large piles of fish bone from otter scat, numerous bird bones, and several ear capsules and other bones of harbor seals. All bones appear to be recent in age and of non-cultural origin, and none have been radiocarbon dated. Otters and minks appear to be the primary accumulators of bones at this site, and remains of both these species were also found within the cave.

© 2002 by Timothy H. Heaton