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Lake Michigan’s Mysterious Wooden Beam

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN—Tests on a wooden beam discovered on the bottom of Lake Michigan have so far failed to prove that the timber is from the Griffin, a ship built by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1679 and lost in a storm on her maiden voyage. Dean Anderson, Michigan’s state archaeologist, thinks the beam is a pound net stake, used for fishing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. “I’m not seeing any evidence of a vessel element here,” he said. Steve Libert, who has been looking for the lost ship for 30 years, and French archaeologists, think that the beam’s beveled end resembles a bowsprit. Results of carbon-14 analysis are due soon.