Stonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake Michigan

[Image: Standing stones beneath Lake Michigan? Via Mark Holley].

In a surprisingly under-reported story from 2007, Mark Holley, a professor of underwater archaeology at Northwestern Michigan College, discovered a series of stones – some of them arranged in a circle and one of which seemed to show carvings of a mastodon – 40-feet beneath the surface waters of Lake Michigan.

If verified, the carvings could be as much as 10,000 years old – coincident with the post-Ice Age presence of both humans and mastodons in the upper midwest.

[Image: The stones beneath Lake Michigan; via Mark Holley].

In a PDF assembled by Holley and Brian Abbott to document the expedition, we learn that the archaeologists had been hired to survey a series of old boatwrecks using a slightly repurposed “sector scan sonar” device. You can read about the actual equipment – a Kongsberg-Mesotech MS 1000 – here.

The circular images this thing produces are unreal; like some strange new art-historical branch of landscape representation, they form cryptic dioramas of long-lost wreckage on the lakebed. Shipwrecks (like the Tramp, which went down in 1974); a “junk pile” of old boats and cars; a Civil War-era pier; and even an old buggy are just some of the topographic features the divers discovered.

These are anthropological remains that will soon be part of the lake’s geology; they are our future trace fossils.

But down amongst those otherwise mundane human remains were the stones.

[Image: The “junk pile” of old cars and boat skeletons; via Mark Holley].

While there is obviously some doubt as to whether or not that really is a mastodon carved on a rock – let alone if it really was human activity that arranged these rocks into a circle – it’s worth pointing out that Michigan does already have petroglyph sites and even standing stones.

A representative of the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology has even commented that, although he’s skeptical, he’s interested in learning more, hoping to see better photographs of the so-called “glyph stone.”

[Image: The stones; via Mark Holley].

So is there a North American version of Stonehenge just sitting up there beneath the glacial waters of a small northern bay in Lake Michigan? If so, are there other submerged prehistoric megaliths waiting to be discovered by some rogue archaeologist armed with a sonar scanner?

Whatever the answer might be, the very suggestion is interesting enough to think about – where underwater archaeology, prehistoric remains, and lost shipwrecks collide to form a midwestern mystery: National Treasure 3 or Da Vinci Code 2. But only future scuba expeditions will be able to tell for sure.

93 thoughts on “Stonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake Michigan”

  1. I am sure that when the History Channel covers this their experts will discover that this contains hidden messages predicting the end of the world in 2012

  2. I just found out this year of the mysterious pyramids under Rock Lake in Wisconsin.

    Can’t understand why we aren’t investing in finding out more about those…..

  3. I’ve got to go with ceedee here, all I’m seeing are some rocks that don’t appear to be arranged in any particular order. On top of that, post ice age the glacial melt would have made the lakes deeper than they are now. Pretty much the entire state of MN was at the bottom of lake Itasca wasn’t it?

  4. Well, I guess there are a lot of things to discover still even though we know so much about our world. I hope we don’t run out of “things”…

  5. I love the circularity of the photographs. Reminds me of Steve Pippin’s
    from his washing machine camera. We need more non-fish-eye circular photographs.

    Also, I hope when they do investigate further, they find “BLDGBLOG” etched onto one of the stones …

  6. Using GPS, it can be determined that the rocks left standing are arranged in such a way so as to form a calendar. That is the significance. It isn’t the only one in the Midwest (see also Woodhenge at Cahokia, for example)The significance is where the stones are positioned not what it might look like. An image of what is being called a mastodon can be found here.

  7. Fascinating. I recently read of another “underreported” mystery: a visible causeway overgrown by a farmer’s field about 45 minutes north east of Kingston, Ontario. Are these mysteries fully explored by universities?

  8. The Rock Lake, Wisconsin “pyramids” are a sham that keeps cropping up every few years. I did some work for the History Channel on this very subject and the only guys out there who believe that the pyramids have any sort of designer are zealots and kooks.

  9. I saw Mark Holley give a talk about this at the World Archaeological Congress in Dublin last year. The technology they used in the survey is _stunning_ and there is an image discernible on a close-up of one of the stones which looks remarkably like a mastodon, even to the eyes of this sceptical archaeologist.

  10. @ceedee

    I think they meant stone henge, not Stonehenge. Indeed, it looks like a henge, while not particularly matching the Stonehenge.

  11. Perhaps, if it could be possible to investigate it further with pyramid – shaped sonar lamp, an egyptian calendar marks would be discovered!

  12. I am as interested as the next person in legitimate finds, but this just looks like a bunch of hooey. The rocks look cool but mostly because of the centrifugal shadows, and what is this about GPS being able to tell something about calendars? With no additional info, the rocks are simply there. The photo of the “Mastodon” is conveniently cut off at the belly, so no feet are visible. Next time I go to the beach and find “what appears to be” an image of Jesus carved in a rock I will report it to the New York Times. And if his beard is not well carved I will just cut that part of the photo before I send it.

  13. It does not look like Stonehenge, but then, neither do 95% of the other Megalithic sites in Europe or the Americas. Check out The Modern Antiquarian by Julian Cope for examples. Quite a few of the sites pictured in that book look like this one.

  14. its actually a microscopic view of a grilled cheese sandwich…. if you look closely you can see the cheese…

  15. Some locals pushed a bunch of stuff out onto the ice for a fish structure. “That outta help fishen next year or so.” “Yep. The stones should bring in some Fudgies too.”

    Has anyone yet located the Lorenzo Demmick in Cathead Bay?

  16. I think its interesting. It doesn’t look like stonehenge but it is an unusual man made looking configuration. I’d like to see more research done about it.

  17. Some of these comments seem to forget that the friggin stones are standing, and that is nothing short of remarkable.

  18. WOW!!! Y’all folks got it right. I just looked at the whole image and it has changed me forever. Underneath the belly you can clearly see the face of Jesus. Anyone else thinking Mormon here or is it just me ;-}…. In truth though there were people in the area at that time and some did probably make stone circles or at least stone collections for one reason or another. Water levels in the area could have been lower at that time with dry ground suitable for such an endeavor. Ordinary folks do make extraordinary finds. But more often people see what they want to see or are looking for. Without more evidence of the surrounding terrain and knowledge of the disposition of other rocks in the area, describing these as something created by man is idle speculation. Advancing glaciers scoop up vast amounts of material and repeated thawing and refreezing tend to clump such item into pockets and groups. When the glacier melts the pocket of rocks does not fall all at once but are released front to back often creating the illusion of a pattern. Try yourself by putting a few pebbles and some sand on an ice cube. Let it melt about a quarter way then refreeze. Melt again about a quarter and refreeze. Take the cube out and place on a paper towel and let it melt completely and you will find a similar pattern to what is shown in the pictures. There is great wonder and many mysteries in the world to be explored. No sense in chasing wild geese though.

  19. Go to the link that shows the pictures of the “mastodon rock”. You’ll see the animal but also look at the rock as if it were a human head. See the face?
    I think they are just natural. I see faces and animals in burning campfire coals. This isn’t much different.

  20. Folks, we’re trying to have a rational discussion here. Comments about Mormons, the face of Jesus, etc. are uncalled for. I doubt the Mormons were in the Grand Traverse Bay area 10,000 years ago…

  21. I think the whole point of face of Jesus is exactly what rational discourse is all about. It is just as easy for the mind to be tricked into seeing that as it is to see a Mamoth where there is none.

  22. Take a photo of any arrangement of items on a two-dimensional surface; pick some arbitrary center point (like that from which each photo was “illuminated”); and you can draw circles about that center point one which items on that plan will lie. By choosing your center point appropriately, you can even ensure that ANY CHOSEN TWO ITEMS (possibly even three, though my geometry training was too long ago to say that with 100% confidence) will lie on the SAME circle. That they do so is of NO SIGNIFICANCE WHATSOEVER, aside perhaps from a clever choice of center point.

    Adjust the scale of your picture to fudge whether objects on your plane truly are equidistant from your chosen center, and voila! You’ve even more objects “arranged in a circle”.

    Add to that an admittedly cool-looking means of collecting your imagery, like that used here, and it adds to the optical illusion of things being arranged in a circle.

    There’s less here than meets the eye, people.

  23. Has anyone read the pdf? It seems to have disappeared from the conference site: “The requested URL /presentations/Holley_session4ISLMC08.pdf was not found on this server.”


  24. I had not heard of this before and I certainly cannot make any kind of intelligent assessment of it now, but I would remind other readers of this article to consider the source, a publication of Rice University in Texas, a highly respected school and not about to publish anything that could be construed as deliberately hokey. And no, I’m not an alum of Rice, I’m a UNC-CH alum. When the lake levels were lower, obviously quite a long time ago, it would have been easier to construct a human monument like this, for whatever purpose–probably burial–they desired. If it is more recent, then it hints at some UFO-type of underwater crop circle but one that is of permanent material. Only the scientists can say what it really is but the whole idea is intriguing.

  25. It’s not just that they are in a circle. You can simulate how they would have appeared under the stars, at the time they were made, and determine if they could be effectively used as an observatory. Model the site, add the stars and take a first person view, run it through a year, if shadows or stones line up at certain, regular points, then there’s a good chance it was human.

  26. I can’t see a circle in that, it looks like two very approximate lines to me. This thing is not in the least like Stonehenge. I call hoax or wishful thinking.

  27. It’s only 40 feet of water? Give me 30 minutes and I could be down at depth taking pictures and back to the freeking surface. With a Network connection I cold even have the pictures posted within the hour.

    Why don’t we have anything else to go on other than these sonar shots of a row boat and other debris.

  28. put you bong down there isn’t a pattern esp not a round one.

    someone has way too much time on there hands.

  29. I would remind other readers of this article to consider the source, a publication of Rice University in Texas

    Just FYI, Rice University has no connection to this blog or to the information contained in this post.

  30. “put you bong down there isn’t a pattern esp not a round one.

    someone has way too much time on there hands.”

    Someone has been sleeping in English class.

  31. This discovery seems to fit with our research into the Loch Mich Monster legends. I don’t want to reveal too much, but think along the lines of subaquatic temples.

  32. Yeah seriously. 40 feet? Why are they taking Sonar? Anybody with a dive cert and a dry suit could be diving the site today. That’s just silly.

  33. This is not the only “Stonehenge” in America. There is also one in North Salem, New Hampshire:
    According to the site, “Like Stonehenge in England, America’s Stonehenge was built by ancient people well versed in astronomy and stone construction. It has been determined that the site is an accurate astronomical calendar. It was, and still can be, used to determine specific solar and lunar events of the year.”

  34. That “American Stonehenge” is believed by scientists to be the result of farming activities during the 18th and 19th centuries and has only been touted as a Stonehenge site since it was bought by an insurance salesman in the 1930’s and opened as a tourist trap. As well, I think the association of stones is just an artifact of the imaging processes. The shadows form an illusion of connection.

  35. Folks,
    Say what you want and believe what you will – but I was one of the divers who was with Dr. Holley when the petroglyph stone was found.

    Keep in mind, we were looking for a shipwreck and this (grouping of stones) was worth investigating

    The pictures displayed here are just a few of the many that have been cataloged. So please don’t be too harsh in judging as we didn’t post them, someone else did. Some pic’s are too huge in file size to load but I am a believer. Still much more work must be done and Dr. Holley is in research mode.

  36. UM I’m sorry, but those stones aren’t very tall. I can’t believe scientific people would jump to such ridiculous conclusions when it is obviously the low angle of the light-source cause such very long shadows (thereby creating an illusion they are tall standing stones).

    But maybe such claims are required in order to get another round of funding?

  37. Please remember that no scientist or anyone associated with this project ever said ANYTHING about stonehenge. The amount of internet misinformation about this story is simply staggering.

  38. I saw a picture of it – there definitely is a possibility that it’s a mastodon, but of course it’s worn and could just be rock.

    The problem they’re having is that there aren’t many petroglyph experts who are divers, and it’s hard to study glyphs from just pictures.

  39. Well, I think there is a lot of goodwill in seeing a second Stonehenge in these stones. The similarity is very little. must say, I’m not very impressed by these photos.


  40. in lake MacFarland in Northern Minnesota there are hewn rectangular rocks deep beneath the surface…. this is a remote lake on the canadian border very very cold and deep… makes ya wonder what was going on… no one has ever looked into it.

  41. The person who started this blog should remove the first three scans since they have nothing to do with the topic. The only things found were the stone circle and the petroglyph on the stone. The circle is only shown on the fourth scan so the rest of the scans are misleading.

  42. Please remember that this is not a visual photograph, but a sonic one. The shadows are not shadows of light, but audio. WHat’s interesting is that the surveyors should have been able to measure the height of the columns but didn’t publish that. THe circular layout is also somewhat strange. I’ve been out of the sonar game for a bit, but i’m generally used to working with vertical lanes and not the circular layout, so I’m a little elss familiar in how to analyze these.

    Also need to know the areas around the clusters adn else is there before we jump to any conclusions

  43. It’s too bad the warmonger amerikan empire doesn’t have any funding for such things…let’s produce more bombs and F-16 for export to

  44. There seems to be a lot of interest in Stonehenge, whether a supposed copy, or the original.

    So may I suggest you obtain your copy of:


    The Link between Atlantis, Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid, Biblical Events and Our Future

    Author Cavin Wright explores the mystery of Stonehenge with specific focus on the 56-hole Aubrey Circle, the purported, sophisticated calendar and clock and its link to the Great Pyramid.
    The Golden Prize: Incorporating Code Nine Enchiridion is a fascinating body of work that correlates American seer, Edgar Cayce’s and Plato’s theories with Wright’s mathematical formulas, resulting in astonishing findings.
    What is the connection between Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid, the Hall of Records and light-speed travel? Wright details these mysteries and other suppositions, using Cayce and Plato’s theorems, coupled with his own meticulous research and equations.
    Could the people of Atlantis have been those described in Genesis and is the flood documented in the Bible linked to the destruction of Atlantis? Does the Earth have a secret past and is humanity on the verge of a quantum leap forward?
    Find out how the events are linked and how they parallel with the dire predictions of Revelation. Discover how these historical happenings might foreshadow our future.
    Determine the direct correlation between Code Nine Enchiridion and the end of time prophecies. Learn what the Golden Prize is and what it means to humanity.
    Publisher’s website:

  45. Out of curiosity, why are these stones not covered in Zebra Muscles? If they have remained undisturbed for thousands of years, why would then not be covered in these invasive organisms like everything else in Lake Michigan?

  46. I don’t care whether they investigate all these mysteries or not. What I do care about is how these “investigations” are funded. We are in the midst of serious financial trouble which is certain to worsen with the ignorant and unconstitutional policies being implemented by the U.S. Government. The American taxpayer, including American businesses, need less taxation and no government interference in the free market to effect recovery. We certainly don’t need to fund silly expeditions to find out if there are carvings on underwater rocks or evidence that people may have built pyramids in the country. None of these mysteries are worth a nickle of taxpayer monies!

  47. Cavinwright”, I would like to suggest that if you want to know about the “Golden Prize”, you get down on your knees and accept what Jesus, the Messiah, did for you on the cross. Is there a “quantum leap” coming for humanity? Absolutely, you can read about it in the Holy Bible. This “leap” is the return of the King for His bride. He is coming for her VERY soon. A period of peace will be followed by the revealing of the one known as the son of perdition who, with his followers will make war on the saints of Christ and overcome them. Then The King returns and you will leap into eternity.

  48. What’s interesting is the triangle and the circle both surrounding the monoliths (if they are that). Are those shadows caused by the figure? That would be a lot like Stonehenge or the Pyramids.

  49. Sorry, but this doesn’t look quite orderly enough to me. And I don’t see any carving. Those stones could have gotten into that rather loose pattern due to currents in the lake.

  50. The outer circle seems VERY clear-cut. The shadows indicate a CENTRAL light source. The central feature is PERFECTLY formed.

    UNnaturally well-preserved and immaculate to my mind – at the bottom of a lake…???

  51. that's a what? you should see a picture of the rock tile in my bathroom. there are the most amazing artistic renderings of faces, animals, & even a couple of phalluses. i'll try to put it on the web so you guys can get all excited & celebrate by having obama add a new national holiday to your calendar.

  52. The great lakes were formed over ten thousand years ago after the ice from the ice age started to melt. If a glacier had rolled over that area (which it obviously did), it would have crushed any remnants of a “stonehenge” type formation. I see nothing in the pictures that resemble a formation.

  53. If you think this is a reasonable explanation, please consider one or more of the following:
    1. Google “glacier boulder trains” to see how common such features are.
    2. Sign up for an introductory Earth Science class at your local college.
    3. Consider Occams razor.

  54. Ummm..

    I’ve looked at all the photos, including the so-called mastodon carving, and all I see are a bunch of randomly scattered boulders….

    It looks like these guys are hyping nothing to get some more research dollars! What a scam!

  55. ” Anonymous said…

    I’ve looked at all the photos, including the so-called mastodon carving, and all I see are a bunch of randomly scattered boulders….

    It looks like these guys are hyping nothing to get some more research dollars! What a scam!

    January 27, 2009 6:42 AM “

    Folks, the carving CAN’T be seen from the posted images above. It’s not posted or visible on this webpage! It’s on another site.

  56. This group doesn’t depend on “research dollars”. Most of it comes from their own pockets. Sorry to burst your conspiricy-laden bubble.

  57. Only by looking into our past can we more clearly see our way into the future. Should we not learn what and how we thought before, so we can prepare to think about tomorrow? Maybe the stones are arranged by man, maybe not. Verify that first, and then we’ll know if it’s worthwhile to look further. I’m interested if they are. Nice to have stuff like this presented.

  58. it's entirely possible that this is just the precursor discovery for the fabled city of R'lyeh. Swallowed Aeons ago cutting off Cthulu and the great old ones from their telepathic link with humanity.. If we try to excavate these ruins, it is possible that we could unleash a new reign of terror across the Universe if the stars are right.

  59. those look like regular stones probably dropped by receding glaciers that have long shadows cast by a really low lamp.. i don't see a circle at all … just the impression of one created by the radial cast

  60. I'm amazed at all the experts chiming in that they don't see it.
    They were not there, they have no expertise in sonar, petroglyphs, when man was even present in the area, much less the water level during that time, yet, they feel compelled to voice a useless opinion…

  61. Please remember 10,000 years ago was the Ice age. People could walk from the one continent to the next across frozen oceans. However Stonehenge is 5000 years old which is after the Ice Age.

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