Lake Michigan Stonehenge

When trying to decide what to write about, I came across an article that mentioned that there was a structure like Stonehenge recently discovered in Lake Michigan. Structures much like Stonehenge are common, especially in the United Kingdom, so it was interesting to find that there was something similar even closer to home, and underwater none the less. Mark Holly, a professor of underwater archaeology at Northwestern Michigan University  , discovered the site in 2007. The archaeologist was hired to survey the floor of the lake close by to Traverse City using sonar to examine old boat wrecks. They found cars, boats, and a pier from the Civil War era but even more surprising was the underwater structure.

The stones are organized  in a circle 40 below the surface of Lake Michigan and is believed to be at least 10,000 years old. One stone in the outer circle, although still up for debate, appears to have a carving of a mastodon, an animal that closely resembles an elephant that went extinct over 10,000 years ago.

Of course, the logical question is how did the stones end up under one of the largest lakes in the world? The only explanation I could find was that local could have created the structure during the last Ice Age when the lake bed was dry.

The problem is that many specialists want to see the structure themselves to determine its authentically, only most of the experts do not dive so they have reached a problem. Many people question whether the rocks were purposely placed or a random occurrence. Other stone circles have been found in the area so it would not be an unreasonable discovery. There have been few new updates on the status of the stones so it has yet to be determined.

After seeing the stone circle under Lake Michigan, I was curious what other Stonehenge-like structures were located in the area. Beaver Island located in northern Lake Michigan is home of another stone circle. It consists of a group of stones circularly located around a large central stone that contains unusual carvings. The carvings have not been carbon dated or tested to see the time period they come from and little is known about the structure itself. The significance of the circle is still being debated by archaeologist and historians although local Native Americans recall stories of a gathering place in the island where a stone calendar was located. Some people see the circle as a random glacial deposit with no historical significance.


2 thoughts on “Lake Michigan Stonehenge

  1. A Stonehenge-like structure in Lake Michigan definitely peaks my interest too! One of the main reasons it interests me is because as soon as be began our discussion of Stonehenge I thought of when I was little and would visit Lake Michigan with my dad, uncle, and other cousins. My cousins and I were too young to play in the waves by ourselves, but old enough to know that is where we wanted to be. Knowing this, my dad and uncle built a large ring of rocks with a horseshoe shape in the middle to tame the waves a little before they hit us. Looking back now, it is obvious what their inspiration was—Stonehenge.
    I thought your post was cool because of the fact that my dad and uncle used to put rocks in a specific pattern that mocked what is now being discovered on a much larger scale deeper into Lake Michigan.
    I think that it is odd that more archaeologists are not more interested in the possible discovery. It seems as if they doubt Mark Holly and his credibility or they simply do not care enough to do what is necessary, like look into underwater archaeology, to be able to see it for themselves.
    Another thing that really interested me is that there is an underwater archaeology profession. At first the only thing I could think of was marine biology. However, marine biology probably looks more into the creatures of the sea while underwater archaeology attempts to understand past civilizations that the water has covered. I bet the two, underwater archaeology and marine biology overlap often.

  2. It was really exciting to read your blog post because I didn’t realize we had our own “Stonehenge” here in Michigan! It’s very amazing to think about how old this structure is because it had to have been constructed thousands of years ago when the lake bed was carved out by glaciers, but before the actual lake was there.
    Reading your blog post about the existence of our own North American Stonehenge-like structures also had me interested in researching whether other stone circles had been built around the world. My findings definitely did not disappoint. Everybody focuses most of their attention on Stonehenge, but there are actually about one thousand other stone circles in the British Isles. This includes Arbor Low, the Rollright Stones, the Maughanby Stone Circle, the Ring of Brodgar, and the Callanish Stones. Stonehenge is an astounding monument, but I believe these structures are just as mysterious in their origins and what they were used for, and they are just as beautiful.
    Not every stone circle is located in the British Isles, however. The Göbekli Tepe, which is located in Turkey, is the oldest known megalithic circle in the world. The stones used in this structure have actually been dated back to somewhere around 9000 BC. Egypt’s stone circle at Nabta is also a very old stone circle, dating back to about 4500 BC. The interesting thing about this structure is that it was constructed on the Tropic of Cancer. On the summer solstice, the sun hits the ground vertically, allowing the stones to have no shadows for a few minutes. A couple of other stone circles not located in the British Isles include Atlit Yam and Gilgal Refaim in Israel and Odry in Poland. I had no idea that so many stone circle structures had been constructed, and knowing that they exist makes me even more interested in learning about them.


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