Beginning about 1000 B.C., local American Indian tribes used these rock shelters as "prehistoric motels." Although the tribes had adopted agriculture by that time, they supplemented their diet with wild plants and animals. These shelters provided a place to stay while hunting and gathering food.
Discarded tools found near the shelters reflect food-related activities: hunting animals, butchering meat, and gathering edible plants, fruits, berries, nuts and seeds. Typical discarded bones include white-tailed deer, fox, woodchuck, rabbit, squirrel, turtle, snake, fish, turkey, duck, and passenger pigeon. Plant evidence suggests these peoples gathered wild seeds and nuts such as acorn and history, and a variety of tubers.
By A.D. 1607, all these people peoples had been pushed out, leaving Montgomery County a "no man's land," a buffer between southern Maryland Algonquians, northern Iroquois, and western Sioux and Shawnee Indians. Archaeologists have yet to solve the elusive mystery about their origins and fate.
"One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?"
-Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder (posthumously 1965)