Fawn Hoof Mummy was found in Short Cave not too far removed from Mammoth Cave. It was uncovered from 10 feet below the surface of the cave, and found wrapped in deer skin. With the body was found a number of utensils and dressing ornaments. The name ‘Fawn Hoof’ comes from the necklace found in her coffin, which had young deer hooves strung on it. It was excavated by Nahum Ward.
Like other bodies found in the Mammoth and Short Caves, the mummy was well preserved, as the cave conditions aided in the preservation process by preventing decay. Sometime between Between 1811 and 1813 miners discovered the mummy in Short Cave. The body was buried with various tools and dressing ornaments, and placed in a sitting position surrounded by rocks, roofed by a large flat rock. Based on the way she was interred, it is believed that she would have been of some importance when alive.
The woman appeared to have been about 6 feet tall. The hair was cut short, and may have been a dark auburn. Her teeth and nails were in perfect condition. She seems to have been someone of great status. Her feet were unusually small and the body overall had been preserved in excellent condition. The body was wrapped in two deer skins that were decorated with leaf and vine patterns
The mummy was later exhibited at World’s Fairs of 1876 and 1893 as the Mammoth Cave Mummy. After 1876, it was turned over to the Smithsonian Institution. Eventually it was dismembered and the bones stored in a box under accession number 4789.