Humboldt River Near Lovelock

The Paiute Indians have a legend about their ancestors and red-haired giants. These giants, known as Si-Te-Cah, used to kill and eat the Paiute tribes. Though the Si-Te-Cah were small in numbers, they posed a dire threat to the Paiute, who were beginning to settle the area. lovelock-cave-locationLegend has it that the Paiute cornered and forced the giants underground, into a cave system, piled brush over the entrance, and set it on fire with flaming arrows, extinguishing the Si-Te-Cah for good.

trail-to-cave-lovelockThe trail to the cave


View from the cave, final resting point for red-haired ancient Americans?

Modern historians and anthropologists have dismissed this legend as a fantasy and allegorical myth, but others have claimed that archaeological finds indicate otherwise. Could there really have been a race of Caucasoid giants that inhabited North America before the Native Americans? Are the artifacts discovered in Lovelock Cave proof that history is wrong? Or, are they just another hoax?

Lovelock Cave, in Nevada, first caught the attention of archaeologists in 1924, thirteen years after miners began harvesting the several-foot thick layer of bat guano that had built up on the cave floor (bat guano = saltpeter, the main ingredient of gun-powder and a great fertilizer). Tlovelock-duck-decoys-headshe miners continued to dig until sifting out the ancient relics inside, beneath the top layer of bat guano, became too much hassle. They notified the University of California about their finds, and the excavation began.


Among the artifacts found were woven cloth, tools, duck decoys (for hunting), inscribed stones, and supposedly, 12-foot-tall red-haired mummies. lovelock-cave-atlatlThousands of pieces were found discarded outside the cave after being separated from the guano. Most of the non-human artifacts can be found in local museums or at the University of California at Berkeley museum, but the mysterious bones and mummies are not so easy to come by. The artifacts, themselves, prove that an advanced culture did indeed predate the Paiute Indians, but whether the legend of red-haired giants is historically accurate remains unknown.

Trying to see these mummies for yourself, you’ll only get the run-around. One museum will tell you the other has it, and vice versa, ad infinitum. The original miners and excavators claim that several mummies (partial and whole) were unearthed, but nowadays, all you can see for sure are one jawbone and one misshapen skull. lovelock-cave-giant-jawThe Humboldt County Museum in Winnemucca has one of the skulls.

Normal size teeth compared with giant jaw


Whether the Lovelock Cave mummies ever really existed or were deliberately covered up, we may never know. The existing artifacts do seem to substantiate the Paiute legend, and evidence of gigantism has been discovered, and documented, in other places across the planet. The Lovelock Cave claim seems to have all the vital pieces–except for the giant mummies themselves. Were they hidden away in some warehouse, so humanity wouldn’t see the errors of modern history? Or, were they the imaginary compilation of an ancient legend and a few mysterious bones?

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Only you can find out by following the trail.

Here is the pdf published by the UC Berkeley Excavators in 1929 – Lovelock Cave by Loud and Harrington. See Appendices 3 and 4 for personal accounts of the legends of the cave.

The investigators at the time did a very good job of analyzing what they could of the site. However, at that time knowledge of the Native US archaeology and history was not what it is today and they had so many interesting issues competing for their attention. We only wish the site and legends could be re-investigated today with open minds and that the original artifacts where still available.

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