Underwater archaeologists have discovered evidence of prehistoric caribou hunts that provide unprecedented insight into the social and seasonal organization of early peoples in the Great Lakes region.
An article detailing the discovery of a 9,000-year-old caribou hunting drive lane under Lake Huron appears in today’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This site and its associated artifacts, along with environmental and simulation studies, suggest that Late Paleoindian/Early Archaic caribou hunters employed distinctly different seasonal approaches," said John O’Shea, the Emerson F. Greenman Professor of Anthropological Archaeology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the article. Read more.
Known as Shipwreck Alley, Thunder Bay in northwest Lake Huron presents a forbidding scene for boaters and captains but a wonder for divers and marine archaeologists. Its chilly bottom is dotted with dozens of wrecks, from 19th-century schooners to passenger-carrying steamboats to steel-moving freighters that have fallen prey to the bay’s unpredictable weather and dangerous shoals.
More than 50 of these historic hulks are protected by the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which was created in 2000 and covers 448 square miles (1,160 square kilometers) off the northeast coast of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Though most are in relatively good shape, thanks to the wreck-friendly freshwater environment of Lake Huron, a new report released by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) finds the sunken ships might be threatened by a tiny menace: invasive mussels. Read more.
The recovery of a mysterious wooden pole at the bottom of Lake Huron is fuelling excitement among U.S. and Canadian researchers that they have found more evidence of a “lost world” of North American caribou hunters from nearly 10,000 years ago.
The scientists believe that these prehistoric Aboriginal People — who would have been among the earliest inhabitants of the continent — had a “kill site” along a ridge straddling the present-day U.S.-Canada border that was eventually submerged by rising waters when the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age.
Now drowned under about 35 metres of water in Lake Huron, the Alpena-Amberley Ridge is named for the Michigan and Ontario towns that respectively mark the western and eastern ends of the 160-kilometre-long, 16-km-wide feature. Read more.
DETROIT — The recovery of a pole-shaped piece of wood that’s 8,900 years old about 100 feet below the surface of Lake Huron has offered hope that more intact evidence of human activity will be found in the area, a University of Michigan researcher involved in the find said.
The wood, which is tapered and beveled on one side in a way that researchers say appears deliberate, was found in July near the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, a now-underwater connection across Lake Huron that once linked the area of northern Michigan with Ontario.
The age of the more than 5-foot long piece of wood was determined using carbon dating, the school said. It is currently undergoing more detailed analyses to determine whether its shape is due to human modification, which visual examination suggests.
“The first thing you notice is that it appears to have been shaped with a rounded base and a pointed tip,” John O’Shea, a University of Michigan anthropology professor, said in a statement. “There’s also a bevel on one side that looks unnatural, like it had to have been created. Read more.
ALPENA, MI (WNEM) - Under the cold clear waters of Lake Huron, University of Michigan researchers have found a five-and-a-half foot-long, pole-shaped piece of wood that is 8,900 years old.
The wood, which is tapered and beveled on one side in a way that looks deliberate, may provide important clues to a mysterious period in North American prehistory.
"This was the stage when humans gradually shifted from hunting large mammals like mastodon and caribou to fishing, gathering and agriculture," anthropologist John O’Shea said. "But because most of the places in this area that prehistoric people lived are now under water, we don’t have good evidence of this important shift itself– just clues from before and after the change.
"One of the enduring questions is the way the land went under water. Many people think it must have been a violent event, but finding this large wood object just sitting on the bottom wedged between a few boulders suggests that the inundation happened quickly but rather gently. And this in turn suggests that we’ll find more intact evidence of human activity in the area." Read more.
Several artifacts retrieved from Lake Huron, including from the ill-fated Erie Belle tug, have been presented to the Kincardine Walker House Museum.
The Kincardine News presented Walker House staff with the artifacts Nov. 2 after they were shipped to the newspaper by former Kincardine resident Carl LaFrance.
The finds include the brass casing of the compass from the Erie Belle and a brass frictionless ships log, used to measure speed and nautical mileage, which is believed to belong to the schooner J.N. Carter.
The two ships are linked in history. The Erie Belle was destroyed and four of 12 crew were killed in a boiler explosion south of Kincardine at what is now Boiler Beach on Nov. 21, 1883 while towing the Carter, which went aground. The schooner was freed from the shoal that winter after its cargo of lumber was loaded onto the ice. The J.N. Carter sank in Georgian Bay in September 1894. Read more.
Five students from Saginaw Arthur Hill High School have spent the last week searching for shipwrecks in and around Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay, part of a program sponsored by Sony, Intel and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
Project Shiphunt “is focused solely on Thunder Bay and very specifically with five exceptional young people who were tasked with searching for shipwrecks,” said James Delgado, director of the NOAA’s Director of Maritime Heritage.
“The area around Thunder Bay is a bad spot in the road when it comes to shipwrecks,” said Delgado, who before joining NOAA last year was president and CEO of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. “The Lakes were highways of commerce, trade and immigration between the 1830s and the 1930s, and hundreds of ships were lost there because of fogs, collisions, fires and storms. More than 100 shipwrecks have been found within the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary, and more than 100 ships have yet to be found that historical records suggest should be out there.” Read more.
ALPENA, Mich. — Five high school students are teaming up with scientists and historians this month to study a shipwreck in Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
The Saginaw students will work with professionals from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on “Project Shiphunt.”The mission is to find a shipwreck, investigate its identity and document it in 3-D.The marine sanctuary near Alpena includes one of the nation’s most historically important shipwreck groups.
Sanctuary superintendent Jeff Gray says the project will support efforts to protect the Great Lakes and inspire new generations of explorers.A reception kicking off the project is scheduled for Tuesday at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena. Nautical archaeologist James Delgado will make a presentation. (source)