Ancient Hunting Camp Found Beneath Lake Huron

SCIENCE

Deep below the surface of Lake Huron, scuba-diving researchers have found an elaborate network of hunting blinds and animal-herding structures dating back roughly 9,000 years. (USA Today)

Can you find the sunken treasure?

This gorgeous bathymetric map of Lake Huron clearly shows the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, which once connected Michigan with Canada. Evidence of ancient hunting sites have been found in the now-submerged ridge. Map by NOAA GLERL

For goodness’ sake, CLICK TO ENLARGE. This gorgeous bathymetric map of Lake Huron clearly shows the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, which once cut straight across the lake. Evidence of ancient hunting sites have been found along the now-submerged ridge.
Map by NOAA GLERL

Discussion Ideas

  • The USA Today article reports that 9,000 years ago, water levels in Lake Huron were about 76 meters (250 feet) lower than they are today. The shallower lake exposed a hilly ridge where ancient Native Americans hunted caribou. Why were water levels so much lower?
    • It was the tail end of the Ice Age, or last glacial period. Water levels in Lake Huron (and every other body of water on Earth!) were much lower because so much water was trapped in massive glaciers. As the glaciers melted, the Great Lakes (and, again, every other body of water on Earth) became much greater.
  • Take a look at the spectacular bathymetric map of Lake Huron above. The archaeologists profiled the USA Today article found their artifacts and features on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, which clearly cuts straight across southern Lake Huron. Where else in Lake Huron would you look for evidence of ancient cultures? Where wouldn’t you look?
    • Archaeologists would probably look for artifacts and features in the shallower parts of Lake Huron—less than 76 meters (250 feet) deep. These regions would have been dry land (or at least swampy) during the last ice age and may contain evidence of ancient Native American culture. In addition to anywhere around the lakeshore, some suggestions might be Saginaw Bay, Thunder Ridge, Austin Ridge, northern Georgian Bay, Barrie Basin, or Sarnia Basin (which would have likely been a flat plain 9,000 years ago).
    • The deeper parts of Lake Huron would probably not hold evidence of ancient cultures. Manitoulin Basin, Cockburn Basin, and Bruce Basin would probably not be good places to excavate.
  • Play our underwater archaeology game, “Find the Sunken Treasure.” The tool digital underwater archaeologists use in the game is a gradiometer. Do you think the archaeologists studying Lake Huron used a gradiometer? Why or why not?
    • No, they probably didn’t use a gradiometer. A gradiometer measures evidence of metal. The Lake Huron site is a Stone Age site. The tools used by ancient Native Americans at the site were mostly stone, not metal.

Thanks as always to Sam, one of our very favorite geographers, for the heads-up on this great current-event connection!

One response to “Ancient Hunting Camp Found Beneath Lake Huron

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