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Great Lakes shipwreck may date back to 17th century

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Archaeology divers say a wooden beam found on the bottom of northern Lake Michigan appears to have been there for centuries. However, French officials say it’s not enough to confirm the presence of the Griffin – a French ship that vanished in the 17th century while exploring the Great Lakes.

Scientists have been watching as commercial divers started excavating last week at the base of the wood beam, trying to determine if it was part of the Griffin. Michel L’Hour, head of the French Department of Underwater Archaeological Research, said the beam appears to be a “bowsprit” – a pole that extends from the stem of a vessel. It extends over 10 feet above the lake bed off Fairport Michigan. Excavators have been opening a pit at the base of the post to see if it’s connected to anything. The ship was commanded by the French explorer Rene Cavelier de la Salle. He set sail from an island near the Bay of Green Bay in 1679, and was never seen again.