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9,000-Year-Old Caribou Hunting Structure Found Submerged in Lake Huron

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War God of the Deep
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« on: May 02, 2014, 10:24:49 pm »


9,000-Year-Old Caribou Hunting Structure Found Submerged in Lake Huron

Mon, Apr 28, 2014

Early North American hunters funneled caribou through stone structures in organized hunting operations.
9,000-Year-Old Caribou Hunting Structure Found Submerged in Lake Huron

According to the results of an underwater archaeological investigation conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers, rock structures located on a ridge beneath Lake Huron indicate probable evidence of organized seasonal caribou hunting more than 9,000 years ago.

Known as the submerged Alpena-Amberley Ridge (AAR), it provided a dry land bridge between Michigan and Ontario 9,000 years ago. Using sonar surveys, investigation by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and scuba-equipped underwater archaeologists, team leader John O’Shea of the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, University of Michigan, and colleagues identified ancient human-made structures on the ridge, structures that they suggest were likely used for caribou hunting.

One such site, called the Drop 45 Drive Lane, consists of two parallel rock-lined paths, suggested by the researchers to have been used to funnel caribou into an 8-meter-wide lane. They also identified what they call V-shaped hunting blinds set above the lane on a hill. Scuba-trained archaeologists recovered eleven flakes of chert, typical byproducts of stone tool repair or maintenance.

Scientists have long theorized that paleoindian and archaic indian hunters pursued and entrapped their prey by using cooperative, organized techniques, requiring a sophisticated level of social interaction and planning. Write O'Shea and colleagues in their report:

    Humans and caribou have a long history of interaction, dating back to at least the Middle Paleolithic. Over time, caribou hunters and herders became aware of the tendency of caribou, like many ungulates, to follow linear features. As such, the construction of linear features of stone or brush provides an effective means of channeling the movement of animals into predetermined kill zones. Numerous historical and ethnographic examples of these hunting structures and associated features are known in the Arctic. In more temperate regions of the globe, traces of such structures rarely survive intact.*

More than the Drop 45 Drive Lane itself, the findings show an interrelated complex of drive lanes, multiple blinds and auxiliary structures that served together as an integrated system for controlling the prey into a kill zone. The findings, say the researchers, have implications for understanding the social and economic organization of the ancient hunters that used the AAR, as it required large groups of cooperating hunters and smaller groups of families to operate the system.

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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2014, 10:25:16 pm »



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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2014, 10:25:40 pm »



A plan of the Drop 45 Drive Lane site (A) alongside a sonar image of the site (B). The black circular area is the scanning unit, and the red circles denote increasing radii of 15 meters. Credit: Image courtesy of John O’Shea/ UMMAA.
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 10:26:03 pm »



A V-shaped hunting blind beneath Lake Huron. Credit: Image courtesy of John O’Shea/ UMMAA.
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 10:26:34 pm »

What is most significant about the discovery, according to the study authors, is that it offers a unique window into the organization of prehistoric hunting for a time period that is very poorly known from terrestrial sites in the Great Lakes region. It further demonstrates that archaeological sites of great antiquity are preserved underwater and that they have the potential to fill important gaps in our understanding of the deep human past.

The detailed study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Early Edition.

*Article #14-04404: “A 9,000-year-old caribou hunting structure beneath Lake Huron,” by John M. O’Shea, Ashley K. Lemke, Elizabeth P. Sonnenburg, Robert G. Reynolds, and Brian D. Abbott.

Extensively adapted, supplemented, and edited from a press release.

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http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/03012014/article/9-000-year-old-caribou-hunting-structure-found-submerged-in-lake-huron
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 10:27:25 pm »

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
28-Apr-2014

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Contact: Diane Swanbrow
swanbrow@umich.edu
734-647-9069
University of Michigan
Prehistoric caribou hunting structure discovered beneath Lake Huron

ANN ARBOR—Underwater archaeologists have discovered evidence of prehistoric caribou hunts that provide unprecedented insight into the social and seasonal organization of early peoples in the Great Lakes region.

An article detailing the discovery of a 9,000-year-old caribou hunting drive lane under Lake Huron appears in today's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This site and its associated artifacts, along with environmental and simulation studies, suggest that Late Paleoindian/Early Archaic caribou hunters employed distinctly different seasonal approaches," said John O'Shea, the Emerson F. Greenman Professor of Anthropological Archaeology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the article.

"In autumn, small groups carried out the caribou hunts, and in spring, larger groups of hunters cooperated."

According to O'Shea, who is also Curator of U-M's Great Lakes Division of the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, the site was discovered on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, under 121 feet of water, about 35 miles southeast of Alpena, Mich., on what was once a dry land corridor connecting northeast Michigan to southern Ontario.

The main feature, called Drop 45 Drive Lane, is the most complex hunting structure found to date beneath the Great Lakes. Constructed on level limestone bedrock, the stone lane is comprised of two parallel lines of stones leading toward a cul-de-sac formed by the natural cobble pavement. Three circular hunting blinds are built into the stone lines, with additional stone alignments that may have served as blinds and obstructions for corralling caribou.

Although autumn was the preferred hunting season for caribou, the orientation of Drop 45 shows that it would only have been effective if the animals were moving in a northwesterly direction, which they would have done during the spring migration from modern day Ontario.

"It is noteworthy that V-shaped hunting blinds located upslope from Drop 45 are oriented to intercept animals moving to the southeast in the autumn," O'Shea said. "This concentration of differing types of hunting structures associated with alternative seasons of migration is consistent with caribou herd movement simulation data indicating that the area was a convergence point along different migration routes, where the landform tended to compress the animals in both the spring and autumn."

The structures in and around Drop 45, and the chipped stone debris for repairing stone tools, provide unambiguous evidence for intentional human construction and use of the feature, O'Shea said. And they also provide important insight into the social and economic organization of the ancient hunters using this area.

"The larger size and multiple parts of the complex drive lanes would have necessitated a larger cooperating group of individuals involved in the hunt," he said. "The smaller V-shaped hunting blinds could be operated by very small family groups relying on the natural shape of the landform to channel caribou towards them."
###

Co-authors of the article are Ashley Lemke and Elizabeth Sonnenburg of U-M, Robert Reynolds of Wayne State University and Brian Abbot of Nautilus Marine Group International.

John O'Shea: http://bit.ly/1l76gRm

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-04/uom-pch042414.php
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 10:27:54 pm »


9,000-Year-Old Caribou Hunting Structure Found Submerged in Lake Huron

Mon, Apr 28, 2014

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Early North American hunters funneled caribou through stone structures in organized hunting operations.
9,000-Year-Old Caribou Hunting Structure Found Submerged in Lake Huron

According to the results of an underwater archaeological investigation conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers, rock structures located on a ridge beneath Lake Huron indicate probable evidence of organized seasonal caribou hunting more than 9,000 years ago.

Known as the submerged Alpena-Amberley Ridge (AAR), it provided a dry land bridge between Michigan and Ontario 9,000 years ago. Using sonar surveys, investigation by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and scuba-equipped underwater archaeologists, team leader John O’Shea of the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, University of Michigan, and colleagues identified ancient human-made structures on the ridge, structures that they suggest were likely used for caribou hunting.

One such site, called the Drop 45 Drive Lane, consists of two parallel rock-lined paths, suggested by the researchers to have been used to funnel caribou into an 8-meter-wide lane. They also identified what they call V-shaped hunting blinds set above the lane on a hill. Scuba-trained archaeologists recovered eleven flakes of chert, typical byproducts of stone tool repair or maintenance.

Scientists have long theorized that paleoindian and archaic indian hunters pursued and entrapped their prey by using cooperative, organized techniques, requiring a sophisticated level of social interaction and planning. Write O'Shea and colleagues in their report:

    Humans and caribou have a long history of interaction, dating back to at least the Middle Paleolithic. Over time, caribou hunters and herders became aware of the tendency of caribou, like many ungulates, to follow linear features. As such, the construction of linear features of stone or brush provides an effective means of channeling the movement of animals into predetermined kill zones. Numerous historical and ethnographic examples of these hunting structures and associated features are known in the Arctic. In more temperate regions of the globe, traces of such structures rarely survive intact.*

More than the Drop 45 Drive Lane itself, the findings show an interrelated complex of drive lanes, multiple blinds and auxiliary structures that served together as an integrated system for controlling the prey into a kill zone. The findings, say the researchers, have implications for understanding the social and economic organization of the ancient hunters that used the AAR, as it required large groups of cooperating hunters and smaller groups of families to operate the system.
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War God of the Deep
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 10:28:26 pm »

What is most significant about the discovery, according to the study authors, is that it offers a unique window into the organization of prehistoric hunting for a time period that is very poorly known from terrestrial sites in the Great Lakes region. It further demonstrates that archaeological sites of great antiquity are preserved underwater and that they have the potential to fill important gaps in our understanding of the deep human past.

The detailed study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Early Edition.

*Article #14-04404: “A 9,000-year-old caribou hunting structure beneath Lake Huron,” by John M. O’Shea, Ashley K. Lemke, Elizabeth P. Sonnenburg, Robert G. Reynolds, and Brian D. Abbott.

Extensively adapted, supplemented, and edited from a press release.

_____________________________

Read about the most fascinating discoveries with a premium subscription to Popular Archaeology Magazine.  Find out what Popular Archaeology Magazine is all about.  AND MORE:

On the go? Purchase the mobile version of the current issue of Popular Archaeology Magazine here for only $2.99.

discovery2014cover2

Popular Archaeology's annual Discovery Edition eBook is a selection of the best stories published in Popular Archaeology Magazine in past issues, with an emphasis on some of the most significant, groundbreaking, or fascinating discoveries in the fields of archaeology and paleoanthropology and related fields. At least some of the articles have been updated or revised specifically for the Discovery edition.  We can confidently say that there is no other single issue of an archaeology-related magazine, paper print or online, that contains as much major feature article content as this one. The latest issue, volume 2, has just been released. Go to the Discovery edition page for more information.

http://www.popular-archaeology.com/issue/03012014/article/9-000-year-old-caribou-hunting-structure-found-submerged-in-lake-huron
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