The 9000-year-old pit stop

Researchers find first archeological evidence of human activity beneath the Great Lakes

An underwater investigation in the Great Lakes has located archeological sites dating back 9,000 years. Researchers at the University of Michigan have found evidence of pits, camps, and caribou hunting structures—all more than 100 feet deep in Lake Huron. “Scientifically, it’s important because the entire landscape has been preserved and has not been modified by farming, or modern development,” said John O’Shea, Professor of Anthropology and one of the researchers who directed the study. Most notably, the researchers identified a 1,148-foot structure that they believe to be a drive lane, used to channel caribou into ambushes. Scientists found the site by modeling the lake ridge as it would have been more than 7500 years ago, when it was dry, and then exploring areas with survey vessels and underwater remote-operated vehicles. If the site is preserved as well as researchers hope, O’Shea explains, the discovery will have “implications for ecology, archaeology and environmental modeling.”

University of Michigan

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