U-M divers retrieve 8,900-year-old piece of wood from Lake Huron
University of Michigan researchers announced they have found a 5 1/2 foot long, pole-shaped piece of wood that is 8,900 years old in Lake Huron.
The wood, which is tapered and beveled on one side in a way that looks deliberate, may provide important clues to a mysterious period in North American prehistory, according to a U-M news release.
"This was the stage when humans gradually shifted from hunting large mammals like mastodon and caribou to fishing, gathering and agriculture," anthropologist John O'Shea said in a statement. "But because most of the places in this area that prehistoric people lived are now under water, we don't have good evidence of this important shift itself - just clues from before and after the change."
O'Shea and U-M professor Guy Meadows began exploring the area in the middle of modern Lake Huron, about 40 to 60 miles from Alpena, several years ago, according to U-M. They were supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In 2009, the divers discovered "drive lanes" used by ancient PaleoIndian hunters to funnel caribou. From there, they further explored the area, locating human campsites, which is where researchers discovered the ancient wood about 100 feet down.
The specimen's age has now been fixed using carbon dating. It is currently undergoing more detailed analyses to determine whether there has been human modification, which visual examination suggests, according to U-M.
See U-M's video report on the ancient wood below: