FAIRPORT (AP) - A wooden beam embedded at the bottom of northern Lake Michigan appears to have been there for centuries, underwater archaeologists announced today, a crucial finding as crews dig toward what they hope is the carcass of a French ship that disappeared while exploring the Great Lakes in the 17th Century.
Expedition leaders still weren't ready to declare they had found a shipwreck or the long-lost Griffin. The ship, commanded by the French explorer La Salle, was never seen again after setting sail in September 1679 from an island near the entrance of Green Bay, in what is now northern Wisconsin, with a crew of a six and a cargo of furs.
But Michel L'Hour, director of France's Department of Underwater Archaeological Research, said the timber appears to be a bowsprit, which is a spur or pole that extends from a vessel's stem. It also appears to be attached to a hard surface below the lake bed.
Read more about the expedition's latest findings in Wednesday's Daily Press.