Great Lakes Stonehenge

In 2007, Mark Holley, a professor of underwater archaeology at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, discovered a series of stones. Some of them arranged in a circle and one of which seemed to show carvings of a mastodon. They are 40-feet beneath the surface waters of Lake Michigan.

Michigan’s Prehistoric Past

If verified, the carvings could be as much as 10,000 years old – coincident with the post-Ice Age presence of both humans and mastodons in the upper Midwest.

In a report by Holley and Brian Abbott to document the expedition, we learn that the archaeologists had been hired to survey a series of shipwrecks using sector scan sonar.

The boulder with the markings is 3.5 to 4 feet high and about 5 feet long. Photos show a surface with numerous fissures. Some may be natural while others appear of human origin, but those forming what could be the petroglyph stood out, Holley said.

Skeptics of  Great Lakes Stone Circles

Viewed together, they suggest the outlines of a mastodon-like back, hump, head, trunk, tusk, triangular shaped ear and parts of legs, he said.

There is obviously some doubt as to whether or not that really is a mastodon carved on a rock. Furthermore, its equally uncertain if it really was the human activity that arranged some of the rocks into a circle. It’s worth pointing out that Michigan does already have petroglyph sites and even standing stones.

1800’s Great Michigan Fires in the Thumb Reveal First Nation Artwork

Upper Thumb Petroglyph Archer
Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park

In our own backyard, the Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park contains Michigan’s only known rock carvings attributable to Native American Indians. The park consists of 240 acres in Greenleaf Township, Sanilac County, in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

The carvings, known as petroglyphs, were discovered by residents after a fire swept through the Upper Thumb of Michigan area in 1881. It revealed rocks bearing the designs. Geologists have been able to determine that the carvings were made 300 to 1,000 years ago, because they are made in relatively friable sandstone . This dates to the Late Woodland Period. Not as old as the Great Lakes stonehenge.

The Great Lakes Stonehenge requires a boat and diving gear to see. In contrast, our own petroglyphs can be seen anytime with a short walk from the parking at the State Park.

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