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Ancient Underwater Camps, Caribou Traps Beneath Lake Huron

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Crista Rodenkirk
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« on: June 09, 2009, 01:49:39 am »

Ancient Underwater Camps, Caribou Traps in Great Lake?
Ker Than
for National Geographic News
June 08, 2009

Under North America's second largest lake, robot-assisted archaeologists may have discovered prehistoric American camps and long "drive lanes" built to guide caribou to their deaths, a new study says (caribou pictures and facts).

On what was once dry land, the structures likely date back 10,000 to 7,500 years. At the time, a vast land bridge divided what is now Lake Huron, researchers say (Lake Huron map).


Now mussel- and algae-encrusted, the features were uncovered by sonar and underwater robots at depths ranging from 60 to 140 feet (18 to 43 meters).
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Crista Rodenkirk
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2009, 01:50:05 am »

Walk This Way, Caribou

One of the structures in the lake, which straddles Michigan and Ontario, Canada, appears to be a line of carefully placed rocks that stretches longer than a football field.

The line resembles lanes still used by Arctic caribou hunters, according to the study.

"An interesting behavioral trait of caribou is that they follow linear features," said University of Michigan archaeologist John O'Shea, who co-authored the new study, which will be published tomorrow in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The hunters recognized this, and the drive lanes were a way of casually suggesting, Why don't you walk this way?"

(Related: "Fewer Caribou Born as Warming Causes Missed Meals.")

The drive lane may have been built by early North American settlers called Paleo-Americans—ancestors of later Native American tribes.

The stone line is relatively straight but curves inward at one point.

O'Shea thinks the curve may have been a hunting blind, where hunters waited to ambush animals as they approached.
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Crista Rodenkirk
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2009, 01:51:01 am »



Caribou cross Alaska's Brooks Range on their annual spring migration in an undated picture.

New discoveries on the lake bed of North America's Lake Huron suggest massive caribou hunting took place in that more southerly region some 10,000 years ago, a June 2009 study says.

Photograph by George F. Mobley/NGS
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 01:51:51 am by Crista Rodenkirk » Report Spam   Logged
Crista Rodenkirk
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2009, 01:53:35 am »

In addition to a drive lane, the scientists think they may have spotted camp sights and stacked stones, or cairns, that prehistoric Americans used to attract the caribou's attention.

Today Arctic hunters use "cairns to lead the caribou onto the drive lines," O'Shea explained.

The hunters "will sometimes attach ribbons to [cairns], and caribou are sufficiently curious that, when they see this, they want to come up and take a look."

Huron Mystery to Be Solved This Summer?

If the new finding is confirmed, it will be the first direct proof that Paleo-Americans living in the Great Lakes region hunted caribou on large scales like their counterparts farther north, said Michael Shott, a University of Akron anthropologist who was not involved in the study.

But Shott is not yet completely convinced the structures are human-made.

"The argument is a plausible one," he said. "But there may be natural processes that could produce both the large- and small-scale features."

Study co-author O'Shea agreed that processes such as glacial scraping could have produced the rocky lines.

The mystery, he said, could be resolved this summer, when scuba divers will examine the lake bottom.
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Crista Rodenkirk
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2009, 01:59:27 am »

Public release date: 8-Jun-2009
[ Print | E-mail | Share Share ] [ Close Window ]

Contact: Nicole Casal Moore
ncmoore@umich.edu
734-647-1838
University of Michigan
Archeological evidence of human activity found beneath Lake Huron

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---More than 100 feet deep in Lake Huron, on a wide stoney ridge that 9,000 years ago was a land bridge, University of Michigan researchers have found the first archeological evidence of human activity preserved beneath the Great Lakes.

The researchers located what they believe to be caribou-hunting structures and camps used by the early hunters of the period.

"This is the first time we've identified structures like these on the lake bottom," said John O'Shea, curator of Great Lakes Archaeology in the Museum of Anthropology and professor in the Department of Anthropology. "Scientifically, it's important because the entire ancient landscape has been preserved and has not been modified by farming, or modern development. That has implications for ecology, archaeology and environmental modeling."

A paper about the findings is published in the June 8 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Co-authors are O'Shea and Guy Meadows, director of the Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratories and a professor in the departments of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, and Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences.

O'Shea and Meadows found features that they believe to be hunting pits, camps, caribou drive lanes and stone piles used to attract the caribou to the drive lanes. Drive lanes are long rows of rocks used to channel caribou into ambushes. The 1,148-foot structure they believe is a drive lane closely resembles one on Victoria Island in the Canadian subarctic.

The hunting formations are on the 10-mile-wide Alpena-Amberley ridge that stretches more than 100 miles from Point Clark, Ontario to Presque Isle, Michigan. The ridge was a bridge between 10,000 and 7,500 years ago when water levels were much lower. Its surface is relatively unspoiled, unlike coastal areas where scientists believe other archeological sites exist. These coastal sites would now be deeply covered in sediment, so they're often considered lost forever.

Scientists have hypothesized for some time that the ridge might hold signs of ancient occupations. But they didn't know what signs to look for. O'Shea and Meadows zeroed in on caribou-hunting structures after considering the region's climate at the time, which would have been similar to the subarctic. Subarctic hunters are known to utilize caribou drive lanes.

The U-M researchers then narrowed down where to look for these structures by modeling the lake ridge as it would have been when it was dry. They worked with a Robert Reynolds a professor of computer scientist at Wayne State University to reconstruct the ancient environment and then simulate caribou migrations across the corridor. Based on this, they picked three spots to examine.

O'Shea and Meadows used U-M's new, cutting-edge survey vessel Blue Traveler, sonar equipment and underwater remote-operated vehicles with video cameras to survey these areas.

"The combination of these state-of-the art tools have made these underwater archeological investigations possible," Meadows said. "Without any one of these advanced tools, this discovery would not have happened."

Archaeologist will begin examining these areas this summer.

The Paleo-Indian and early Archaic periods are poorly known in the Great Lakes region because most of their sites are thought to have been lost beneath the lakes. Yet they are also times of major shifts in culture and the environment.

The Paleo-Indians were nomadic and pursued big game, O'Shea said. With the Archaic period, communities were more settled, with larger populations, a broad spectrum economy, and new long distance trade and ceremonial connections.

"Without the archeological sites from this intermediate time period, you can't tell how they got from point A to point B, or Paleo-Indian to Archaic," O'Shea said. "This is why the discovery of sites preserved beneath the lakes is so significant."

Perhaps more exciting than the hunting structures themselves is the hope they bring that intact settlements are preserved on the lake bottom. These settlements could contain organic artifacts that deteriorate in drier, acidic soils on land.

###

The paper is called, "Evidence for early hunters beneath the Great Lakes." The research is funded by the National Science Foundation.

For more information:

John O'Shea:
www.lsa.umich.edu/anthro/faculty_staff/oshea.html

U-M Museum of Anthropology:
www.lsa.umich.edu/umma

Guy Meadows:
www.engin.umich.edu/dept/name/faculty_staff/meadows/Main.htm

Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratories:
www.engin.umich.edu/dept/name/facilities/mhl/

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-06/uom-aeo060809.php
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Bianca
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2009, 06:02:45 pm »



A potential stone hunting blind beneath Lake Huron that is approximately 3.5 m across.

(Credit:
Photo courtesy of

John O'Shea.)
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Bianca
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2009, 06:03:59 pm »










                        Archeological Evidence Of Human Activity Found Beneath Lake Huron






ScienceDaily
(June 9, 2009)

— More than 100 feet deep in Lake Huron, on a wide stoney ridge that 9,000 years ago was a land bridge, University of Michigan researchers have found the first archeological evidence of human activity preserved beneath the Great Lakes.

The researchers located what they believe to be caribou-hunting structures and camps used by the early hunters of the period.

"This is the first time we've identified structures like these on the lake bottom," said John O'Shea, curator of Great Lakes Archaeology in the Museum of Anthropology and professor in the Department of Anthropology. "Scientifically, it's important because the entire ancient landscape has been preserved and has not been modified by farming, or modern development. That has implications for ecology, archaeology and environmental modeling."

A paper about the findings is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Co-authors are O'Shea and Guy Meadows, director of the Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratories and a professor in the departments of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, and Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences.

O'Shea and Meadows found features that they believe to be hunting pits, camps, caribou drive lanes and stone piles used to attract the caribou to the drive lanes. Drive lanes are long rows of rocks used to channel caribou into ambushes. The 1,148-foot structure they believe is a drive lane closely resembles one on Victoria Island in the Canadian subarctic.

The hunting formations are on the 10-mile-wide Alpena-Amberley ridge that stretches more than 100 miles from Point Clark, Ontario to Presque Isle, Michigan. The ridge was a bridge between 10,000 and 7,500 years ago when water levels were much lower. Its surface is relatively unspoiled, unlike coastal areas where scientists believe other archeological sites exist. These coastal sites would now be deeply covered in sediment, so they're often considered lost forever.

Scientists have hypothesized for some time that the ridge might hold signs of ancient occupations. But they didn't know what signs to look for. O'Shea and Meadows zeroed in on caribou-hunting structures after considering the region's climate at the time, which would have been similar to the subarctic. Subarctic hunters are known to utilize caribou drive lanes.

The U-M researchers then narrowed down where to look for these structures by modeling the lake ridge as it would have been when it was dry. They worked with a Robert Reynolds a professor of computer scientist at Wayne State University to reconstruct the ancient environment and then simulate caribou migrations across the corridor. Based on this, they picked three spots to examine.

O'Shea and Meadows used U-M's new, cutting-edge survey vessel Blue Traveler, sonar equipment and underwater remote-operated vehicles with video cameras to survey these areas.

"The combination of these state-of-the art tools have made these underwater archeological investigations possible," Meadows said. "Without any one of these advanced tools, this discovery would not have happened."

Archaeologist will begin examining these areas this summer.

The Paleo-Indian and early Archaic periods are poorly known in the Great Lakes region because most of their sites are thought to have been lost beneath the lakes. Yet they are also times of major shifts in culture and the environment.

The Paleo-Indians were nomadic and pursued big game, O'Shea said. With the Archaic period, communities were more settled, with larger populations, a broad spectrum economy, and new long distance trade and ceremonial connections.

"Without the archeological sites from this intermediate time period, you can't tell how they got from point A to point B, or Paleo-Indian to Archaic," O'Shea said. "This is why the discovery of sites preserved beneath the lakes is so significant."

Perhaps more exciting than the hunting structures themselves is the hope they bring that intact settlements are preserved on the lake bottom. These settlements could contain organic artifacts that deteriorate in drier, acidic soils on land.

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Journal reference:

1.. Evidence for early hunters beneath the Great Lakes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 8, 2009
Adapted from materials provided by University of Michigan.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA University of Michigan (2009, June 9). Archeological Evidence Of Human Activity Found Beneath Lake Huron. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/06/090608182543.htm
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Bianca
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2009, 06:05:46 pm »










                              At the Bottom of Lake Huron, an Ancient Hunting Ground







Science News,
June 9, 2009

   ..Deep beneath the waves of Lake Huron, researchers may have found evidence of a Paleo-American culture that lived in the Great Lakes region. Archaeologists used sonar and robotic explorers to examine about 28 square miles of the lake bottom, and found what may be the remnants of a caribou hunting ground; they hope further studies will reveal ancient settlements. Says study coauthor John O’Shea: “Scientifically, it’s important, because the entire ancient landscape has been preserved and has not been modified by farming, or modern development” [Canwest News Service].

What is now part of Lake Huron’s obscured floor became a dry land bridge between modern-day Presque Isle, Michigan and Point Clark, Ontario when lake levels dipped some 7,500 to 10,000 years ago [Scientific American]. At depths ranging between 60 and 140 feet, researchers found lines of large stones, which may have been “drive lanes” that aided early hunters as they tried to take down galloping caribou. “An interesting behavioral trait of caribou is that they follow linear features”
[National Geographic News],
says O’Shea.

Although generally unimpressive to humans — a person could easily step across the shin-high line of boulders, and even a small dog could leap it with a single bound — such structures are used by arctic hunters today to effectively guide caribou…. Groupings of large boulders at each end of the structure could have been used as decidedly low-tech hunting blinds [Science News].

But the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, hasn’t convinced everyone–other archaeologists argue that the rock lines could have been arranged by moving glaciers, and say they’ll wait for a sighting of stone tools or other artifacts before getting excited. Study coauthor Guy Meadows notes that a rather thick covering of zebra mussels — an invasive species that now plagues many of the Great Lakes — also blocked easy view of the lake bottom surrounding the purported manmade structures…. So, he adds, researchers will soon return to scuba dive in the area and make detailed investigations

[Science News].
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