Malcom J. Bosse
Cave Beyond Time
1980
from the dust jacket:

"You—" Ben felt a hand on his arm. "Go!" With a thrill of panic he realized that Throw Far was shoving him first into the blackness. He had not been afraid until now, but without the presence of Throw Far to reassure him, Ben lost his confidence. Even so, he took a step into the pitch-black cave, hands outstretched before him .... He heard his companions following, their feet grinding against the pebbles .... He felt as though he were crawling to the center of the earth, to the core of mystery. And yet the way seemed endless, as if there were no center; no core, but forever the blackness of the tunnel...

Fifteen-year-old Ben's initiation as a hunter in the tribe Of the Waterfall turns him into a man. But how had he, a modern teenager, journeyed to this place? Only flickering memories remained of his uncle's archeological dig in the Arizona desert, of the snakebite, a jackrabbit, headlights ... Ben's experiences with ancient nomads, hunters, and farmers teach him the power of survival and how to come to grips with a tragic loss.

Malcolm J. Bosse is the author of The 79 Squares, an American Library Association Notable Children's Book for 1979. Here, with great sensitivity, he creates a multilayered story of legend and fact as he unravels the meaning of the cave beyond time.