Possible Wreck Of The Griffon To Be Examined

Dec 20, 2011

Underwater researchers say there's enough evidence to warrant taking samples from what may be the historic Great Lakes ship, the Griffon. The French owned vessel is thought to have sunk in northern Lake Michigan in September of 1679. The ship was part of explorer Rene de La Salle's effort to link trade from the Great Lakes to settlements on the Mississippi River.

  Using sound waves to profile the site last summer archeologists found a mass buried in the bottom of the lake that's consistent with a ship's hull. Researcher Ken Vrana says based on what's known so far he's recommending a test excavation. That means carefully uncovering and removing materials from the site to find out for sure if it's the wreck of the Griffon.

  Ken Vrana says, "Once you get to the level of test excavation that's a very serious commitment of both expertise as well as cost."

  After years of arguing, the state of Michigan, the French government and Great Lakes Exploration Group are working together under a court agreement to identify the site. If the parties approve excavation it will take a permit from the state to proceed.

  Diver Steve Libert, founder of Great Lakes Exploration, discovered the site ten years ago.