Port Kennedy Bone Cave

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Port Kennedy Bone Cave
Location Valley Forge National Historic Park, Port Kennedy, Pennsylvania
Depth 50 ft
Discovery c. 1894
Geology Potsdam limestone
Entrances 1
Hazards buried
Access Restricted

The Port Kennedy Bone Cave is a limestone cave in the Port Kennedy section of Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania, USA.[1] The Bone Cave "contained one of the most important middle Pleistocene (Irvingtonian, approximately 750,000 years ago) fossil deposits in North America".[2]


The fossils in the cave were investigated by noted 19th-century palaeontologists Edward Drinker Cope, Henry C. Mercer, and Charles M. Wheatley. Some of the fossils, such as an unnamed member of Genus Dicaelus are unique to this cave and have not been identified elsewhere.[3]

The cave was originally discovered by limestone miners in the 19th century. It was later filled in with asbestos-bearing industrial refuse and the cave's location was lost. The village of Port Kennedy was largely demolished in the 1960s during construction of the U.S. Route 422 Expressway. The tract containing the cave became part of the Valley Forge National Historical Park in 1978. In 2005, the National Park Service and geologists rediscovered the cave.[4]

It has been rumored that the quarry near where the cave is located near holds a crashed locomotive, which was used in the shooting of a now lost silent film in 1915, The Valley of Lost Hope.[4]

Remains found in the cave[edit]


Numerous insect remains were found imbedded in clay masses in the cave.[3]

These included:


Mastodon americanus remains were found.[5]

Others included:[6]









  1. ^ Circa-1894 photo of the entrance to the Bone Cave, from Bucks County Historical Society.
  2. ^ Bechtel, Timothy D.; Jaime L. Hojdila, Samuel H. Baughman II, Toni DeMayo, Edward Doheny (2005). "Relost and refound: Detection of a paleontologically, historically, cinematically(?), and environmentally important solution feature in the carbonate belt of southeastern Pennsylvania". The Leading Edge 24 (5): 537. doi:10.1190/1.1926813. ISSN 1070-485X. 
  3. ^ a b Society, American Entomological; Horn, M.D., George M. (December 1876). "Notes on some Coleopterous Remains from the bone cave at Port Kennedy, Penna.". Transactions of the American Entomological Society 5. The Society. pp. 241–245. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Hojdila, Jamie; Toni DeMayo; Sam Baughman; Tim Bechtel; Margaret Carfioli (3 Nov 2010 (online) • 4 Nov 2010 (in print)). "Sidebar--The long-lost cave has been found!; Features; Park Science 23(2), Fall 2005 (ISSN 1090-9966, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior)". Retrieved 17 February 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Cope, ED. (1871) Preliminary report on the vertebrata discovered in the Port Kennedy Bone Cave. American Philosophical Society, 12:73-102.
  6. ^ Society, American Philosophical; Cope, E. D. (1873). "PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE VERTEBRATA DISCOVERED IN THE PORT KENNEDY BONE CAVE". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society held at Philadelphia for promoting useful knowledge 12. The Society. pp. 73–98. Retrieved 18 February 2011.