|23 May 2014
Prehistoric hunting structure discovered beneath Lake Huron
Underwater archaeologists have discovered a 9,000-year-old caribou hunting drive lane under Lake Huron, providing unprecedented insight into the social and seasonal organisation of early peoples in the Great Lakes region between Canada and the USA.
"This site and its associated artefacts, along with environmental and simulation studies, suggest that Late Palaeo-indian/Early Archaic caribou hunters employed distinctly different seasonal approaches," said John O'Shea, professor of anthropological archaeology at the University of Michigan, and lead author of the article. "In autumn, small groups carried out the caribou hunts, and in spring, larger groups of hunters cooperated."
According to O'Shea, the site was discovered on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, under 37 metres of water, on what was once a dry land corridor connecting northeast Michigan to southern Ontario.
The main feature is the most complex hunting structure found beneath the Great Lakes. Constructed on level limestone bedrock, the lane is comprised of two parallel lines of stones leading toward a cul-de-sac formed by the natural cobble pavement. Three circular hunting blinds are built into the stone lines, with additional stone alignments that may have served as blinds and obstructions for corralling caribou.
"The larger size and multiple parts of the complex drive lanes would have necessitated a larger cooperating group of individuals involved in the hunt," O'Shea said. "The smaller V-shaped hunting blinds could be operated by very small family groups relying on the natural shape of the landform to channel caribou towards them."
Edited from EurekAlert!, Popular Archaeology (28 April 2014)
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