Cave: Nature and Culture

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To enter caves is to venture beyond the realm of the everyday. From huge vaulted caverns to impassable water-filled passages, the karst topography of Guilin in China and the lava tubes of Hawaii, from tiny remote pilgrimage sites to massive tourism enterprises, caves are places of mystery. Dark spaces that remain largely unexplored, caves are astonishing wonders of nature and habitats for exotic flora and fauna. This book investigates the natural and cultural history of caves and considers the roles they have played in the human imagination and experience of the natural world. It explores the long history of the human fascination with caves, across countries and continents, examining their dual role as spaces of both wonder and fear. In Cave we encounter the adventurers and 'cave hunters' who pioneered the science of caves, and the explorers and cave divers still searching for new, unnavigated routes deep into the earth. This book explores the lure of the subterranean world by examining caving and cave tourism and by looking to the mythology, literature and art of caves.This lavishly illustrated book will appeal to general readers and experts alike interested in the ecology and use of caves, or the extraordinary artistic responses earth's dark recesses have evoked over the centuries.