The Mysterious: Michigan Stonehenge

          As promised in last month’s historical mystery post, this month we will be discussing Lake Michigan Stonehenge, what it actually is, what it could be, and why it’s there. Now, that sounds like a lot to cover, but there’s surprisingly not many legitimate sources surrounding this structure under the choppy waters of Lake Michigan. Take that for what you will. Let’s explore.

What Is It?

          This part is going to be very short because this is pretty straightforward. About 40 feet below the surface of the water of Grand Traverse Bay, an inlet off of the northern portion of Lake Michigan, a series of stones were found in 2007. The stones were arranged in a circle, and a small boulder nearby had a carving that resembled a mastodon. The stones are all covered in various lichen and other underwater flora. The stones seem to be a few feet high, though it’s difficult to tell just based on pictures. Date estimations claim that the stones date back a whopping 10,000 years, which aligns with other structures found in the Great Lakes. 
          Words don’t do these structures much justice, so here’s a photo:

(A photo of the stones from an archaeological dive.
via Daily Buzz Live)


          There are a few theories regarding how the stones got to the bottom of the Lake in such a particular formation. The first theory is that the stones were placed there by indigenous peoples before the lake was at its water level. Basically, the great lakes were formed when a sheet of ice gouged their bodies out of the land during the Pleistocene Epoch glaciation. Then, when that sheet of ice began to melt, those new basins filled with water and formed lakes. The Great Lakes were formed around 3,000 years ago, so it’s possible that indigenous peoples placed the stones in the basin before it filled with water to form Lake Michigan. The second theory is that the stones were placed in the water to specifically obscure them. Why? No idea.  This theory lends itself to a lot of mysticism and mystery, but it doesn’t seem to have any viable reasoning behind it. But it’s always possible.
          The second round of theories revolves around the purpose of the stones. Again, there are really only two and they boil down to whether the stones had cultural significance to the indigenous peoples of the area or not. Stone structures have been discovered across the country and traced back to indigenous cultures – like medicine wheels and cairns for example. If the stones were not placed by indigenous peoples, I believe one of two things happened. Either these were placed as a hoax, or people placed them to mark something. Or maybe they mean nothing, and are a strange coincidence.
          The only thing I’m confident in is that the boulder does not necessarily have to have been carved by humans. If it has been sitting on the floor of Lake Michigan for 10,000 years, the water will have worn it down. And because it was found along with some mysterious stones, everyone is looking for some sort of meaning with anything. Which means our brains are possibly playing with pareidolia and filling in the blanks to give it more meaning than it actually holds. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible that the rock was carved by human hands to show a mastodon or mammoth or whatever else you see, but it does give me pause in definitively declaring that it does.
          We don’t normally end on a call to action here at the Morbid Library, but this one has me stumped. What do you think the significance of the stones is?


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