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Archaeology breakthrough: Researchers uncovered ‘underwater Stonehenge’ beneath US lake | World | News


Lake Michigan: Experts discuss under water rock formation

Researchers were taken aback on finding a series of stone circles beneath Lake Michigan. The rocks formed what appeared to be perfect rings, yet were hidden away deep beneath the Great Lake. Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of America and is deep-rooted in the country’s history, sitting in the northeast spanning several states.

Some of the earliest human inhabitants of the lake were the Hopewell Native Americans, whose culture is thought to have declined after 800 AD.

Afterwards, the Late Woodland Native Americans made it their home.

Multiple sightings of the stones prompted researchers, making a documentary for Discovery TV in 2017, to explore the lake’s bed and analyse the structure using cutting-edge technology.

Compared to Stonehenge the origin of the stones under Lake Michigan is less obvious.

Archaeology: Researchers were baffled by the stone circle beneath the lake's water

Archaeology: Researchers were baffled by the stone circle beneath the lake’s water (Image: GETTY/Discovery UK)

Lake Michigan: The body of water is one of the US' Great Lakes

Lake Michigan: The body of water is one of the US’ Great Lakes (Image: Google Maps)

While they do seem to form a perfect geometric shape, they aren’t stacked or connected in the same way.

Rob Nelson, the show’s presenter, said while there is evidence that prehistoric tribes roamed the Great Lakes for thousands of years, very little is known about them.

Along with the other native people, the Anishinaabe are believed to be among the first Native Americans to have inhabited the area around Lake Michigan.

Some descendants of the Anishinaabeg believe they laid the stones for a sacred purpose.

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Ancient history: One of the stone formations on the lake bed

Ancient history: One of the stone formations on the lake bed (Image: Discovery UK)

What is definitely known is that around 10,500 years ago, the water level in the Lake Michigan basin dropped precipitously and drained to a much lower level for at least 3,500 years.

It wasn’t until 5,000 years ago that the water levels rose and the basin filled.

A scientist speaking during the documentary explained that the area, when dry, was once inhabited and offered the perfect living space: close to both land and water.

Mr Nelson gained permission to dive to the lake bed and use an advanced technology called stereophotogrammetry, enabling him to create a 3D model from 2D photographs.

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Underwater: Researcher Rob Nelson dived down the the lake bed to inspect the formation

Underwater: Researcher Rob Nelson dived down the the lake bed to inspect the formation (Image: Discovery UK)

Mastodon: The technology allowed Nelson to outline an ancient animal on the rock face

Mastodon: The technology allowed Nelson to outline an ancient animal on the rock face (Image: Discovery UK)

Stitching together a digital image of the rock for deeper inspection, Mr Nelson was able to trace along the indentations that had been carved into the rocks.

Beginning to sketch the image, Mr Nelson said: “Once you outline the lines it looks like a… it looks like a f***ing Mastodon!”

He continued: “Unbelievable, a Mastodon carving on a rock that hasn’t seen daylight in at least 5,000 years.

“This is huge!”

Archaeological discoveries: Some of the most groundbreaking discoveries on record

Archaeological discoveries: Some of the most groundbreaking discoveries on record (Image: Express Newspapers)

Mastodons are an ancient ancestor of elephants and wooly mammoths, and were at one point one of the largest land animals ever to roam North America.

Mr Nelson took his findings to Dr John O’Shea, the Curator of Great Lakes Archaeology at the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology.

Analysing the sketch and rock formation, he said: “I can make a plausible argument that it’s a hunting structure that the ancient hunters used known as a drive lane.”

Drive lanes have been used by hunters for thousands of years to herd large groups of animals along a set path towards a kill zone, where hunters lay in wait.

Ancient North America: Mastodons once roamed North America and were the regions biggest land animal

Ancient North America: Mastodons once roamed North America and were the regions biggest land animal (Image: GETTY)

He showed drive lanes in use today, some of which resemble the structure found beneath Lake Michigan.

Dr O’Shea said: “It’s unexpected.

“You wouldn’t necessarily know that it was anything.”



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