Lovelock Cave

Lovelock Cave: A Tale of Giants or A Giant Tale of Fiction?

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The Paiutes, a Native-American tribe indigenous to parts of Nevada, have an oral tradition that they told to early white settlers of the area about a race of red-haired, white giants or ‘barbarians’ that their ancestors referred to as the “Si-Te-Cah.”  The story was written down in 1882 by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, daughter of a Paiute Indian chief in her book Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims .  These “giants” were described as being vicious, unfriendly and cannibalistic.  In this story, the Paiutes speak of a great battle that took place which led to their extermination at site known today as Lovelock Cave.  During the early part of the 20th century archaeologists found thousands of artifacts inside this cave leading to a lengthy excavation of the site and leading to some speculation that the Paiute legend was real.

Sarah Winnemucca, Paiute Writer and Lecturer, alongside her father and Chief Poito Winnemucca of the Paiute Natives in Nevada. Circa 1882.

Sarah Winnemucca, Paiute Writer and Lecturer, alongside her father and Chief Poito Winnemucca of the Paiute Natives in Nevada. Circa 1882. ( Wikimedia Commons )

“Si-Te-Cah” or Saiduka literally translates as “tule-eaters” in the Northern Paiute language.  The tule is a fibrous water plant, which according to legend, the giants wove into rafts to escape attacks by the Paiute.  They used the rafts to navigate across what remained then of Lake Lahontan, an ancient lake that once covered most of northern Nevada during the last ice age. As the Paiute tale goes, after years of warfare, all the tribes in the area joined together to rid themselves of the Si-Te-Cah.  One day, as the tribes chased down the last remaining red-haired giants, they took refuge in a cave.  The Paiutes demanded their enemy come out of the cave and fight, but the giants refused.  The coalition of tribes proceeded to shoot arrows at them while starting a large fire at the mouth of the cave.  The smoke drove out a few who died in a hail of arrows while the rest were all either burned alive or asphyxiated.  Over time, the entrance to the cave would collapse leaving it accessible only to bats and cut off from human contact.

Lovelock Cave, known also as Bat Cave, Horseshoe Cave, Sunset Guano Cave and Indian Cave is located 20 miles south of modern day Lovelock, Nevada.  It’s a very old cave that pre-dates humans on the continent and in prehistoric times was underneath Lake Lahontan.  In 1886, a mining engineer from Lovelock named John T. Reid was told of the legend by local Indians, who took him to the site to prove it existed.  Reid was unsuccessful in getting an archeological dig started immediately but two miners, James Hart and David Pugh, realized the value of guano as an ingredient of gunpowder, and created a company to start digging it out in 1911.  They stripped a layer of guano from the cave approximately three to six feet deep, using a pick and shovel with little regard to the artifacts, and shipped some 250 tons of it to the Hawaiian Fertilizer Company in San Francisco. 

The outside of Lovelock Cave

The outside of Lovelock Cave ( Wikimedia Commons )

Alfred Kroeber, founder of the University of California Anthropology Department was contacted by Hart and Pugh when they reported finding prehistoric artifacts.  This spurred the first archeological dig of Lovelock in 1912 led by L.L. Loud also of the University of California.  A second dig took place in 1924 and after finishing the excavations, Loud collaborated on a report that was published in 1929.  What L.L. Loud found was nothing short of amazing.  Approximately 10,000 archaeological specimens were uncovered including tools, bones, baskets, and weapons.  According to the report, 60 average-height mummies were unearthed.  Duck decoys (among the oldest known in the world with feathers still attached) and a sandal over 15 inches long were excavated.  A donut-shaped stone with 365 notches carved along the outside and 52 corresponding notches inside was found, which some scientists believe is a calendar.  Interestingly, radiocarbon dating done on follow up visits found vegetable material dating back to 2030 B.C., a human femur dating to 1450 B.C., human muscle tissue dating 1420 B.C., and basketry dating back to 1218 B.C.  Archaeologists concluded from this that human occupation of Lovelock cave, by this culture, started in 1500 B.C.  Today's anthropologists call the people who lived in the area the Lovelock Culture with the Period lasting some 3,000 years.  Many archaeologists believe that the Lovelock Culture was replaced by Northern Paiutes.

Pictures are some Duck Decoys, circa 400 BC – AD 100, they are on display at the National Museum of the American Indian of the Smithsonian Institute.

Pictures are some Duck Decoys, circa 400 BC – AD 100, they are on display at the National Museum of the American Indian of the Smithsonian Institute. ( Courtesy of Ernest/Amoroso .)


Roberto Peron's picture

In every legend there is some element of truth.  Giants?  Perhaps not.  White skinned with red hair maybe.



If the average height difference between the Indians and these other people was great - say more than eighteen - then the term giants is apt.

The problem comes when we interpret such terms to fit the current common ideas.

While it doesn't seem likely that many of the cave dwellers were extraordinary height, 6'5" is not that unusual, but for a woman not impossible. If everyone was tall, a 'founder' effect could result in some individuals at the extreme ends of the colony. It is such a tragedy that difference can separate tribes.

It's clear that the earliest traces predate Santorini, but the Atlantic has been increasing in size for millennia and a tribe from a North Atlantic cataclysm could have found refuge on the Western continent. The fibrous vegetation would almost force them to use it for artefacts. But were the duck decoys used for decoy, or ritual when ducks could have been the first food they found when they arrived. Perhaps familiar to them in their home island? Here is a comparison of jawbone found at lovelock with dental model. They exist. Humboldt museum in Nevada.

Giant are vary real because that's were I get the roots of my teath and circulatory system from

Well leave to the Smithsonian to take and his true evidence of giants. Anything that doesn't fit into their Darwinism 'theory". Is quickly hidden from the public. As a retired Army Veteran you learn the true nature of our corrupt govt.

Well leave to the Smithsonian to take and his true evidence of giants. Anything that doesn't fit into their Darwinism 'theory". Is quickly hidden from the public. As a retired Army Veteran you learn the true nature of our corrupt govt.

Rosco Jones's picture

"There were Giants in those days." The existence of giants in many locations around the world has been a part of folklore history for a long time. Few have taken this seriously and any evidence found always seems to disappear. There are several groups doing research into this topic today. Who knows, maybe someday evidence proving their existence may be found. I for one do consider their this a possibility.


We never know what we don't know until eventually we do.
You know what I mean?

A couple of years back they put in a Reservoir in Kanab, Ut. They found several of these giants buried there and had dated the site to 15000 B.C. Everything they dug up went to the Arizona State University.

Nowadays we have alien cadavers and Ufos  being squirrelled away, the trend seems to have been giants before that. As Mr Peron points out, myths talking about actual events are rarely made up entirely from scratch. I wonder if “that tribe over the hill who we fought” grew in size with every retelling, much like an angler talking about his best catch down the pub?

There are numerous reports of giant bones being surrendered to the Smithsonian and disappearing forever. I was looking for that in this story, and there it was!

What modern science reveals is a false representation of a history that only supports a model they feel comfortable with. Over the entire history of the most ancient cultures on this planet, there are many civilizations that have been lost in the mist of time. Others have been intentionally suppressed because scientist would be faced with having to account of origins, which would profoundly upset accepted paradigms. Natural disasters, plagues and even nuclear wars have all played a part, leaving little or no evidence of passing epoch. Yes -- There were giant humanoids! Every culture has valid accounts of them. Even the Smithsonian has a special reliquary section full of enormous skulls and artifacts which it will not make public. The problem with modern society is they no longer have an curiosity that insist on investigation, but rather believe what they are told to believe

The most dangerous poison of the masses is a dominant society that refuses enlightenment because they feel more comfortable with lies they have been told

This is one article ive taken a huge interest in, but ive yet to blog about it as ive just begun to learn about it. Tales like this truly make you scratch your head because it always seems that when something extrodianry is found, it comes up "missing". The lovelock giants and the unearthed skeletons that were rumored to have horns two inches above the eyebrows..also missing.

This is important history, this is something that happened in the past and we need to know our true history...or we will be doomed to repeat it

You would be surprised at how many learned scientist and researchers actually hide, if not destroy artifacts because they cannot explain them or they don't fit accepted paradigms of evolution. The worst offenders are government financed archaeological projects by universities and historic research labs

I have visited the cave and spoke with many people in Lovlock regarding the "giants". There were some very large skulls found in the cave and I spoke to people who actually saw the skulls.

They used to be in the local museum in Lovelock but were moved to Reno and after that Winnamucca.

If you are going through Nevada make a point to visit the cave. There are other caves in the area as well but none as famous as the Lovelock Cave. Next time I am in Nevada I want to explore the Spirit Cave.

Nick poynor's picture

In Georgia on tibee island in the sand dunes are Giants with red hair a quick Google will lead to a real news paper article from the late 1800s now it's fenced off for safety reasons in for bird eggs or so they say out side Cheyenne wyoming in table mountain a rancher found giant skulls 

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