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State Museum Science Lecture: History Preserved Under The Great Lakes


Paul Mickey Science Series: The End of an Era? Early Holocene Caribou Hunting Strategies in the Upper Great Lakes

  • Location: ISM Research & Collections Center, Springfield
  • Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Presented by Dr. John M. O’Shea, Curator of Great Lakes Archaeology, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, University of Michigan
With the grudging withdrawal of the continental ice sheets at the end of the Pleistocene, the Great Lakes oscillated between higher and lower water levels before stabilizing at modern elevations. The most marked of these oscillations is termed the Lake Stanley low stand in the Lake Huron Basin and lasted from about 9,900-7,500 years ago Before Present. During this time water levels were more than 100 m lower than present, and the Huron Basin was divided into two distinct lakes separated by a rocky outcrop of limestone and dolomite termed the Alpena-Amberley Ridge (AAR). The AAR provided a narrow (10-15 km) causeway linking northern lower Michigan with southern Ontario. Interdisciplinary archaeological and environmental research on the now submerged AAR has demonstrated that the feature was occupied by early Holocene hunters, and that it remained cold and taiga-like much longer than surrounding mainland areas. This provided a refugium for cold-adapted species such as caribou. This presentation will examine what the uniquely preserved finds of the AAR can tell us about Late Paleoindian and Early Archaic hunting practices and society in the Upper Great Lakes.

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