NSS Convention ~ July 25-30, 2021

Photo: PMaría Alejandra Pérez, NSS

Culture of Caves, Cavers and Caving

This session focuses on anthropology and caving including speleological research as a cultural activity. The session highlights the broader context of the study of humans and caves.

This topic approaches cave science as a cultural activity. Speleology (cave science and exploration) serves as a case study within which topics will examine a range of issues such as identity (Who are we? What brings us together?), place and emotion (How do places become meaningful? Why is it that we come to love some places more than others? ), value (How do we come to value, beyond economic considerations, places that are hidden or not part of our everyday livelihoods?). Really, these questions are relevant well beyond caves, karst, and even bunkers!

Anthropologists, Tim Ingold, puts it best when he notes that "it might be more realistic ... to say that people live culturally rather than to say they live in cultures." This approach encourages studies of "people whose lives take them on a journey through space and time in environments which seem to them to be full of significance, who use both words and material artifacts to get things done and to communicate with others, and who, in their talk, endlessly spin metaphors so as to weave labyrinthine and ever-expanding networks of symbolic equivalence" (Ingold 2011).

Session Details

Session Moderator

Maria Perez, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University

Session Moderator

John Wilson

Ka'u Cave Farm, Ocean View, Hawaii

Call For Abstracts:

Opens: Thursday, May 20, 2021
Closes: Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Session Moderators:

Maria Perez & John Wilson
Email: maria.perez@mail.wvu.edu; jmwgeo@gmail.com


How to write an abstract

Online Abstract Submissions:


Online Video Upload Link:


Student Scientists:

The James G. Mitchell Fund was established in 1965 and is maintained by contributions to the National Speleological Foundation. This award includes a cash award for the best scientific paper presented at the NSS Convention by a student member (or members) of the society. Eligible papers shall be judged by an interdisciplinary panel appointed by the Mitchell Award sub-committee chair. For consideration, contact sub-committee chair, Dr. Kathy Lavoie at award-mitchell@caves.org.