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More than 100 feet deep in Lake Huron, on a wide stoney ridge that 9,000 years ago was a land bridge, University of Michigan researchers have found the first archeological evidence of human activity preserved beneath the Great Lakes.
The researchers located what they believe to be caribou-hunting structures and camps used by the early hunters of the period.
"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."
It’s truly a significant structure that would have once separated Lake Huron. Much of it is in water levels 40 to 120 feet below modern lake levels. There is no sediment on top, just sheer rock. It has a very Arctic look to it actually.”
The climate of our area would have been similar to the subarctic in the Paleo-Indian stage, between 7,500 to 10,000 years ago.
(The ridge) is covered in zebra mussels,” said O’Shea. “So that poses the next big challenge for archeologists looking for artifacts and evidence of activity.”
O'Shea and Meadows found features that they believe to be hunting pits, camps, caribou drive lanes and stone piles used to attract the caribou to the drive lanes. Drive lanes are long rows of rocks used to channel caribou into ambushes. The 1,148-foot structure they believe is a drive lane closely resembles one on Victoria Island in the Canadian subarctic.
Archeological evidence of human activity found beneath Lake Huron (as above)
The Paleo-Indian and early Archaic periods are poorly known in the Great Lakes region because most of their sites are thought to have been lost under the lakes. Yet they are also times of major shifts in culture and the environment. The Paleo-Indians were nomadic and pursued big game, O'Shea said. In the Archaic period, communities were more settled, with larger populations, a broad spectrum economy, and new long distance trade and ceremonial connections.
Originally posted by OceanExplorer
As the glacier retreated it left behind the scoured out terrain which is now known as the great lakes. Nine thousand years ago when the experts surmise these hunting trails were used fits the time line perfect.
Keep searching and the truth will be known