Traverse City - Underwater archeologists have found what they suspect is a rock that contains an ancient carving of a Mastodon being hunted by humans. It could be the first proof that humans hunted the large beasts in Northern Michigan up to 10,000 years ago.
The stone formation is under 40-feet of water in Northern Michigan.
“It appears the rocks have been manipulated by man,” says Dr. Mark Holley, an archeologist for the Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve Council who taught Underwater Archeology at Northwestern Michigan College. “But we still have to study the boulder to see if it is in fact a carving, or perhaps the result of natural phenomenon.”
Holley notes the image on the boulder is quite clear, but it has not yet been proven that human hands produced it. He says efforts are underway to authenticate the image.
The image appears to be the full body of a single mastodon (which is a large type of prehistoric elephant) and there appears to be a spear in the mid-section of the animal, where the heart may have been.
Divers from the Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve Council and NMC students who recently completed the underwater archeology class, found the stone formation while searching Grand Traverse Bay for shipwrecks that could be of interest to divers.
“We fully expected to find interesting diving locations,” says Holley. “We never expected to find something that could help rewrite the history of the region.”
Holley says Mastodon remains have been found in Southern Michigan locations, but this could be the first find in Northwestern Michigan.
The exact location of the stone is not being identified to preserve it from vandalism or theft.