SKANEE, Mich. (WJMN) – Thousands of years ago, long before Stonehenge and the pyramids, mining operations in the Keweenaw Peninsula were being conducted. These miners are known to be the world’s first metal workers in the area.
The Noble Odyssey Foundation is searching under the waves of Huron Bay, for evidence of these ancient people.
“We’re looking at the copper age running from seven thousand years ago to three thousand years ago. How many vessels carrying copper would have gone to the bottom? But this area that we’re looking at is sheltered and it’s protected,” said Luke Clyburn, president of Noble Odyssey Foundation. “If I were running a boat and I was coming from Isle Royale to get away from a storm, this is the kind of place I would want to duck into to kind of keep alive. So, I think it’s a very good spot to look for some evidence of ancient culture. We’re looking for anything that would show us that people had been here.”
This exploration dive is a part of a PBS documentary series titled America’s Ancient Industry Part 3 -The Search.
“We’re looking for any artifacts that we find, and we photograph them and then report them in,” said Bob Kreipke, director of the series. “Everything seems to be going good, obviously it’s like looking for needles in haystacks when you’re underwater there. But we’re trying, and it’s pieces of the puzzle that we’re putting together. We believe that under the waters is where the best examples and artifacts might be contained.”
Back in 2018, a woman named Kathryn Vall analyzed a sediment core taken from a lake on Isle Royale. Large amounts of lead were found in the samples. According to Janine McFadden, the producer on the series, this is scientific evidence of mining thousands of years ago.
“I believe it was a world trade, and that the world was very populated way back then and we’re just learning about that now,” said McFadden.
America’s Ancient Industry Part 3 – The Search will air on PBS sometime in the Fall.
The Noble Odyssey Foundation brings together scientists, educators, and youth with an interest in underwater exploration and research to develop and support projects that will enhance public understanding of Great Lakes science and history.
For more information about The Noble Odyssey Foundation, you can visit its website.
BONUS VIDEO: Here is an extended version of video from the diver’s point of view.