January 2009

MUD Club  –  Next Meeting:   Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Andrews University,   Biology Amphitheater, Price Hall, Berrien Springs, Mi

Meeting starts ~ 7:30 p.m.    (Every 3rd Tuesday of every month except December)

No December Meeting:

As a reminder the 2009 Club Officers are:

Don McAlhany (President)    Larry Steelman  (V.P.)     Ric Kling  (Treasurer)

(269-249-5527)                    (269-684-4584)                (269-944-5026)

Jim Scholz is the “Ecology Dive” Committee Chairman.

 January  Meeting:   

 Key item will be the collection of Dues, if you are still interested in being a member,  please settle up at the January meeting or send a check to Ric (made out to Ric for 2009 Dues) and using this information we intend to have the member phone books out at the March meeting.  Expect to hear about committee meetings for the ecology dive and plan on helping out, we need ideas for the ecology T-shirt & logo,; also need 2009 diving suggestions – dates and places, discussion on river dive & 2009 dives completed. 

New Years Party & Ice Dive:              

Jim S, Ken R, Larry S, Don M in the water- Photo by Bob S.

“2009” – After a safe dive in Crooked Lake, Dowagiac

Stonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake Michigan

In a surprisingly under-reported story from 2007, Mark Holley, a professor of underwater archaeology at Northwestern Michigan College, discovered a series of stones – some of them arranged in a circle and one of which seemed to show carvings of a mastodon – 40-feet beneath the surface waters of Lake Michigan. If verified, the carvings could be as much as 10,000 years old – coincident with the post-Ice Age presence of both humans and mastodons in the upper midwest.  In a paper assembled by Holley and Brian Abbott to document the expedition, we learn that the archaeologists had been hired to survey a series of old boat wrecks using a slightly repurposed “sector scan sonar” device. You can read about the actual equipment – a Kongsberg-Mesotech MS 1000 – here.

The circular images this thing produces are unreal; like some strange new art-historical branch of landscape representation, they form cryptic dioramas of long-lost wreckage on the lakebed. Shipwrecks, a “junk pile” of old boats and cars; a Civil War-era pier; and even an old buggy are just some of the topographic features the divers discovered. These are anthropological remains that will soon be part of the lake’s geology; they are our future trace fossils. But down amongst those otherwise mundane human remains were the stones.

While there is obviously some doubt as to whether or not that really is a mastodon carved on a rock or if it really was human activity that arranged some of the rocks into a Stonehenge -like circle – it’s worth pointing out that Michigan does already have petro glyph sites and even standing stones. A representative of the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology has even commented that, although skeptical, he’s interested in learning more, hoping to see better photographs of the so-called “glyph stone.”

So is there a North American version of Stonehenge just sitting up there beneath the glacial waters of a small northern bay in Lake Michigan? If so, are there other submerged prehistoric megaliths waiting to be discovered by some rogue archaeologist armed with a sonar scanner?
Whatever the answer might be, the very suggestion is interesting enough to think about – where underwater archaeology, prehistoric remains, and lost shipwrecks collide to form a Midwestern mystery, but only future scuba expeditions will be able to tell for sure.

 

Hope to see everyone at the January meeting and hope the weather permits it J

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