06 January 2009

Underwater Stonehenge in Lake Michigan?

This week the architecture website Bldgblog has a feature article reviewing the finding in 2007 of what appear to be "standing stones" underwater in Lake Michigan. The images above show "sector scan sonar," which looks outward from a central location rather than side-scanning the way towed torpedoes do. The top image shows the purported standing stones, and the lower one shows typical lake-bottom junk: boat skeletons and old cars.

It's not as improbable as it seems for archaeological sites to be beneath the waters of Lake Michigan - especially not at the relatively shallow depth of 40 feet. Water levels in the Upper Midwest have changed dramatically since the retreat of the glaciers; rivers have even reversed direction as the land has lifted up after losing the overlying weight of the glacial ice.

A little over a year ago NPR carried a brief report about a possible petroglyph depicting a mastodon, recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan. That item was also carried on the Discovery Channel website. Whether or not the objects casting the shadows in the sonar images above are man-made artifacts has not to my knowledge been established or refuted. Perhaps some of my friends at the Ancient Waterways Society would care to offer an opinion or followup data.

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