Researchers recently found an ancient caribou hunting site beneath Lake Huron. The area was marked by elaborate designs of stone lanes and V-shaped structures.
Researchers from the University of Michigan led by John O'Shea stated that the 9,000-year-old-hunting site may have been used by ancient people to capture migrating caribou herds passing through the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, a land corridor connecting southern Ontario and northeast Michigan. To date, the land corridor is now underneath 120 feet of water.
The lines and structure were discovered using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with a video camera. Underneath the water, researchers stumbled upon a 26-foot-wide and 98-foot-long lane ending in a cul-de-sac that pointed northeast. They also found V-shaped hunting structures oriented southeast, along with a rectangular enclosed space which might have been used as a holding space for the caribous. The entire hunting site measured 92 feet by 330 feet.
"The fact that all of the migrations tend to converge on these two locations ... would have provided predictability for ancient hunters, which is why we see so many structures located in these spots," O'Shea told LiveScience.
After gathering enough pictures of the site, scuba divers were sent to investigate it further. They found around 11 stone flakes near the lanes, bolstering the hypothesis that the site used to be a hunting ground. Computer simulation was also used to predict and understand the migration patterns of caribous during the spring and autumn seasons. The simulation provided two major choke points that were likely used to drive the caribous to the hunting site. One of the found choke points is directly in line with the hunting site found by the researchers.
Further details of the study can be read on the April 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.