Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

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Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Dec 2, 2008 12:10 pm

While I was drinking coffee this morning and getting ready to go to work, there was a short story on Channel 5 TV, here in Nashville, Tennessee, about a pothunter up in Kentucky who had dug a trench inside a cave entrance. The trench collapsed and he died before rescuers could get him out.

I don't remember what town they said it was near, but it was in the greater Nashville viewing area, so it was in south, central Kentucky.

I would bet this was an illegal dig. Hopefully, a real, legal excavation would have used shoring in the trench.

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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Andy » Dec 2, 2008 12:54 pm

Tennessee man dies in cave collapse in western Ky.

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. -- A Tennessee man has died after a cave collapsed in western Kentucky while he was digging for Native American artifacts.

Christian County Coroner Dorris Lamb says 42-year-old Devin William Peters, of Clarksville, Tenn., was killed in the accident.

Christian County Rescue Team director Randy Graham told the Kentucky New Era that Peters and another man were at the cave, located between Pembroke and Oak Grove, when the walls of an excavation trench collapsed.

The second man was above ground and telephoned for help at 4 p.m. CST Monday.

Graham said Peters' remains were found eight feet below the floor of the cave, buried under about four feet of dirt. Graham said the remains were removed about four hours after the collapse.

http://www.kentucky.com/471/story/612969.html
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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Dec 2, 2008 1:16 pm

Pembroke and Oak Grove are both on my Kentucky map. They are on opposite sides of Interstate 24, just north of the Tennessee State line and south of Hopkinsville.

That was quite a trench - 8 feet deep. Hopefully, somebody can come up with the name of the cave. It might be Glovers Cave, which is/was famous for it's Indian artifacts.

I hope the survivor is charged if, as I suspect, they were illegally excavating Native American artifacts without a permit.

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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby wendy » Dec 2, 2008 2:04 pm

I had something totally in mind when I read the title of this thread. I thought some guy was looking for pot (ie., weed) in a cave. Either way, it was dumb.
"Blessed are they who learn from their mistakes. For they shall make, if not necessarily fewer of them, different and more interesting ones."

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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 2, 2008 2:34 pm

Aw, crikey... duuuude! Image
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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Dec 2, 2008 5:28 pm

Digging can be alot of fun and can yield wonderful rewards in either virgin caves or just the strengthening the bond between cavers searching for virgin cave. But it can be radically dangerous to the unwary and unprepared... as shown by this guy. Sorry that he had to lose his life to make this point but it does stress to the rest of us that we must be cautious first and foremost when digging.
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Dec 3, 2008 12:11 pm

Last week I was in Dunbar Cave in Clarksville with Billyfrank Morrison. He knew the guy that got killed.

The other "man" that was with the person that was killed was actually his girlfriend. She called for help on her cell phone, but by the time the resecuers got there, it was too late.

Ironically, I had told Billyfrank the old cave guide's joke about "you can't get buried deeper or cheaper" last week. We still don't know the name of this cave.

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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 3, 2008 2:16 pm

Preston, on the Texascavers email listserv, says "The TN pothunter died in Buzzard Cave, on the West Fork of the Red River, in Christian Co., KY. This cave is north of the very famous Glover Cave."
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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Evan G » Dec 3, 2008 9:28 pm

Image

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20081203/NEWS01/812030351

The brother of a Clarksville man who died when a cave collapsed on him in western Kentucky said his brother was "just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill" guy who enjoyed searching for artifacts as a hobby.

Christian County Coroner Dorris Lamb said 42-year-old Devin William Peters of Clarksville was killed Monday while searching for Native American artifacts in the cave between Pembroke and Oak Grove.

"He was a very great guy," said his brother, Dennis Peters. "If you knew him personally, you'd be crying like the rest of us."

Dennis Peters said his brother was a hard-working brick mason who spent his free time looking for artifacts, of which he had a huge collection.

Dennis Peters added that his brother didn't do it for money.

He said Devin Peters looked for fields that had just been plowed and asked the property owner if he could look for artifacts.

"He never went on a man's land he didn't have permission to go on, and he did have permission to hunt where they were last night," said Dennis Peters.

Devin Peters and a close friend hunted together, his brother said, and had a pact that they would bring a cell phone with them wherever they would hunt in case something happened.

Devin Peters' friend was with him the night the cave collapsed.

"(The friend) turned around to say something to (Devin) and he heard a whoosh and (a crevice) caved in on him," Dennis Peters said. "(The friend) immediately ran to the car and called 911 and was trying to dig him out when rescuers got there."

Dennis Peters said when he received the call from his brother's girlfriend of 14 years, it floored him. He added that while many people had been "bashing" his brother, he doesn't think Devin Peters' artifact-hunting made him a bad person.

"If you don't know him, I don't think you should criticize somebody just for what he was doing (Monday) night," Dennis Peters said. "He would give the shirt off his back if you asked for it in the freezing cold."

Dennis Peters said he has fond memories of his brother, who was seven years younger than him.

"Me and him went fishing and did all kinds of things together," Dennis Peters said.


http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article ... /812030351
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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby tncaver » Dec 4, 2008 7:10 am

Pot hunting and digging in caves is perfectly legal with landowner permission in many states, so long as no gravesites
are disturbed. PERMISSION being the key word here. Same goes for caving on other people's property. Unfortunately,
harvesting formations is legal too with permission in most states (federal lands excluded). And unfortunately, most
pot hunters and cave vandals don't have permission because they know most cave landowners won't allow those
activities. Most cave landowners I've met are more educated than they were 40 years ago and many of them will
actually quiz a caver about their intentions and experience before even allowing them to visit caves on their land.
I think that is probably a good thing.

Wonder if the family of the pot hunter who passed away would consider donating his collection in his name,
to a museum where the artifacts could serve a historical and educational purpose, along with a statement to
the effect that all artifacts were gathered with permission on private lands?
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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby JP McLendon » Dec 9, 2008 10:32 am

Wonder if the family of the pot hunter who passed away would consider donating his collection in his name,
to a museum where the artifacts could serve a historical and educational purpose, along with a statement to
the effect that all artifacts were gathered with permission on private lands?


That's the problem with amateur artifact collecting...without detailed information on exactly where artifacts were found (including depth, samples of surrounding materials, relationship to other artifacts, orientation, etc.), his collection would have little historical or educational value. Much of the knowledge that can be obtained from ancient artifacts is destroyed when that material is dug up and carted off.
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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby kingscreek » Dec 21, 2008 8:21 pm

I know the owners of the property that this incident occured on and a family member informed me that they gave noone and never have permission to dig in any of there caves except for professionals. Which was in Glovers cave between 1940 and 1980.
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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby tncaver » Dec 21, 2008 10:01 pm

kingscreek wrote:I know the owners of the property that this incident occured on and a family member informed me that they gave noone and never have permission to dig in any of there caves except for professionals. Which was in Glovers cave between 1940 and 1980.


Doesn't sound good for the pot hunter or the family. And quite frankly, I suspect that illegal pot hunters are more the
norm than the exception, so your statement doesn't surprise me much. I'm sorry it turned out the way it did, regardless.

A human death is nothing to take lightly regardless of why.
Last edited by tncaver on Dec 22, 2008 5:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Teresa » Dec 21, 2008 11:27 pm

This bothers me for several reasons.

1) The guy died because although he may have been an expert in artifacts, he obviously was not an expert in trenching.
2) Cavers were so quick to be judgmental upon the basis of a probably sketchy news report, jumping to perhaps unwarranted conclusions.
3) The fact of the matter is: if you have a passion for archaeology and artifacts, the chances that you can become professional (i.e. make a living at it) are extremely slim. There simply aren't enough positions for the interest out there. Such is the case with most natural sciences (biology excluded, although I know a lot of amateur biologists who know more taxonomy than the professionals with jobs) The few people I know who are academic or professional archaeologists are overloaded with work and requests which go unanswered. And the competent amateurs are told "You are not a professional, so musn't touch." I don't blame them for going ahead, myself.(After all, is there much difference between an amateur archeologist and an amateur caver, in those pristine places, disturbing and mucking them up for 'real' biologists, geologists, hydrologists, etc.? I think not.)
4) We really need to do something as a society about this-- to channel the energy, and recognize the efforts of all the dedicated science amateurs, who for reason of economics, family responsibility, have the sheer dumb bad luck of being enthusiastic about something which society does not value enough to reward with many professional positions.
5) I've had enough college level archaeology to know that there is a right and a wrong way to do things, and that there are some "professional archaeologists" who just are on power and control trips, that have nothing to do with the actual science at hand.There are people like that in every field. The answer is not to label people as pot hunters and vandals, but reserve that label for the real thing, and find a way for amateurs to meaningfully contribute without being perpetual students.
6) My condolences to his family. They probably won't do anything in their grief, but if the original article calls the guy a pothunter, and he wasn't, they probably have grounds for a libel suit.
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Re: Pothunter Dies In Kentucky Cave

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Dec 22, 2008 9:06 am

I think it is very irresponsible to suggest that someone should or could be sued for calling someone a "pothunter". Are you going to sue someone for calling you a "spelunker"?

You have made the erroneous assumption that the word "pothunter" is somehow derogatory. That word has been around my entire life and merely refers to someone who is not a professional archaeologist and who digs up Indian artifacts.

I guess next we will have people suing because somebody called them a "redneck", or God-knows what else.

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