WDBJ 7 is uncovering the details of a hidden treasure located right here in our own backyard.
Organ Cave is located in West Virginia. It is about 90 miles from Roanoke and located a few miles away from the Greenbrier.
It's the second longest commercial cave on the East Coast, a national historic landmark and part of the Civil War Trail, but it is now gaining new publicity for a very old artifact.
Janie Morgan is the person responsible for finding some rare fossils.
"The secrets that are in this cave I want to find them,” said Morgan.
After working on a farm for most of her life, the mother of two bought Organ Cave nearly 20 years ago and has been discovering its history ever since.
"You could start at the beginning of the mouth of the cave and walk through it and it would take you a lifetime,” she said.
Morgan was exploring one day in the early 2000's when she came across something unique within the cave walls.
"I was looking around and I spied these and I didn't know what it was,” she said.
Pictures of her findings now sit on a display case inside of the Organ Cave gift shop so customers can see what she was looking at underneath the ground.
"It had the markings of wood grains and I didn't know what they were,” said Morgan.
Paleontology and geology experts in the state didn't know either, but they knew it was more than a piece of wood.
About ten years later, in May 2014, an expert from Washington, DC identified the fossils as shark fin spines.
Experts consider shark fin spines rare because sharks have cartilage, not bones. The cartilage tends to dissolve quickly and usually the only thing left behind from a shark are teeth.
But, Morgan found five spines during her exploration.
WDBJ 7 spoke to Vince Santucci Tuesday afternoon. Santucci is a senior geologist and paleontologist for the National Park Service in DC and is the one who identified the fossils.
“The geology in West Virginia is amazing,” said Santucci. He believes the fossils are from some of the earliest known sharks in the world. “They’re about 350 million years old,” he said.
Morgan said it's still hard to believe.
"Shark in West Virginia,” she said. “We're 500 miles from the nearest ocean and here they are in the mountains of West Virginia."
Morgan said there's still a lot more to see within the walls and ceilings of the cave and said it's only a matter of time until it's discovered.
Organ Cave is about 480 feet deep. Morgan said there is another 300 feet of water underneath that.
Morgan said people have been mapping and surveying the cave for years and the most recent study of the cave shows it is 70 miles long.
"Just because people has walked these paths for hundreds of years doesn't mean the knowledge is evaporated,” she said. “There's just so much more there."
Morgan said she's not sure what she is going to do with the fossils. They are museum quality, but her team doesn't know how to take them out of the cave. She said she would have to call in professionals.
Right now, Morgan hopes to open up a Civil War and Native American museum on site. If she does, she plans to put the shark fossils in there.