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Evidence of Ancient Civilization Found Under Lake Huron

Well this is getting ridiculous.

You start poking your nose around an long-ignored body of water and you start finding all sorts of amazing things. Two weeks ago I posted an article about bizarre sink hole ecosystems found in Lake Huron and NOW it seems researchers at the University of Michigan have found evidence of an ancient civilization submerged 100 feet below the waters of Lake Huron.

Now, there's all sorts of crazy crap at the bottoms of the Great Lakes. There are 228 World War II aircraft laying at the bottom of Lake Michigan from ill fated training runs from the training of 17,280 pilots over the lake on ferries converted to aircraft carriers. There are thousands of ships, some huge, some small, some dating back to the 1700s at the bottom of the Great Lakes. There are underwater cave petraglyphs.

But for some reason this new discovery is one of the most exciting to me: potentially some of the best preserved artifacts and sites of North Eastern civilization from 9000 years ago.

John O'Shea, curator of Great Lakes Archaeology in the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology and a professor of anthropology, used government maps of the lake floor and determined where the water line would be 9000 years ago, and reasonably predicted that he'd find evidence of ancient civilization along that line. He predicted such a civilization would show long "drive lines" used to hunt caribou...long walls of stacked rocks used to corral game animals toward an ambush.

Then...he went looking for them 100 feet down, and found 'em.

I love when that stuff happens.

Scientist makes a hypothesis --> scientist follows hypothesis --> scientist finds cool stuff at the end of the hypothesis.

Using detailed government data on lake floor topography, a research vessel and a remote mini-rover equipped with a camera, scientists found what they believe are hunting pits, camps and rock structures called caribou "drive lines'' on the bottom of Lake Huron.


The 1,148-foot "drive line'' structure found by U-M researchers closely resembles one previously discovered on Victoria Island in the Canadian subarctic.

-- Article

This is a particularly exciting find because it is going to be well preserved from being deep underwater and out of the way of modern activity. We'll learn a lot more about ancient American human history from these sites.

"This is the first time we've identified structures like these on the lake bottom," said John O'Shea, curator of Great Lakes Archaeology in the Museum of Anthropology and professor in the Department of Anthropology. "Scientifically, it's important because the entire ancient landscape has been preserved and has not been modified by farming, or modern development. That has implications for ecology, archaeology and environmental modeling."

-- Article

I've said it before and I'll say it again...we are surrounded by wonders and discoveries right here in our own back yards. New species to be found, new eco-systems to be discovered, new portions of our history to be unearthed. This discovery was made possible through increased efforts by the Federal Government to map and explore the Great Lakes. We've inhabited this region for over a quarter of a millennium and we're JUST starting to peer deeper into what's going on in the Great Lakes, thanks in part to modern technology, but even more importantly a renewed will to do so.

There's much more to be discovered. And it's right under our noses.

Lake Huron is really racking up the excitement.

(UPDATE: As it turns out Bobs Telecaster broke this story first on the Kos and has Pics! See his article The Caribou Hunters under Lake Huron )