The Grand Traverse Bay Stones
The Truth about the “Stonehenge” in Lake Michigan
By Dr. Mark Holley
This site seems to gain a life in the media about every six months or so. Sadly, much of the information out there is incorrect. For example, there is not a henge associated with the site and the individual stones are relatively small when compared to what most people think of as European standing stones. It should be clearly understood that this is not a megalith site like Stonehenge. This label has been placed on the site by individuals in the press who may have been attempting to generate sensation about the story and have not visited the site. The site in Grand Traverse Bay is best described as a long line of stones which is over a mile in length.
Dr. John O’Shea from University of Michigan has been working on a broadly similar structure over in Lake Huron. He has received a NSF grant to research his site and thinks that it may be a prehistoric drive line for herding caribou. This site is well published and you can find quite a bit of information on it on the internet. It is highly possible that the site in Grand Traverse Bay may have served a similar function to the one found in Lake Huron. It certainly offers the same potential for research. Unfortunately, however, state politics in previous years have meant that we have only been able to obtain limited funding for research and as a result little progress has been made. We have been monitoring the site and a few other archaeologists have looked at it underwater. Recently, a couple of the technicians associated with the initial project back in 2007 have made television appearances, although there is really nothing new to report.
At this point in time we are not disclosing the location of the site due to security concerns.
Each summer we host a Nautical Archaeology field school at Northwestern Michigan College to train beginning archaeologists in field research methods. You may find all of the details at www.nasnmc.com. The field school is open to everybody and if you have further interest in the stones, attending the field school would be a great way that you could help support the research and explore other sites of archaeological interest in our local area. A full catalog of these sites and the research that has already been accomplished is available on the nasnmc.com website mentioned above.
A sonar scan of the Grand Traverse Bay Stones