State Issues Permit For Dig That Could Uncover The Great Lakes' Oldest Shipwreck

May 31, 2013

UPDATED 6/4/2013 with corrected length of legal dispute.

The State of Michigan has issued a permit for a major archeological dig in Lake Michigan. It could uncover the oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes.

Underwater explorers have been given the go-ahead to dig up bottomlands off the coast of the Garden Peninsula near Green Bay. They’re in search of the French fur trading ship Le Griffon, which went down in 1679.

The dig has been a thirty-year obsession for members of Great Lakes Exploration, a team out of Dayton, Ohio. After years of diving and exploring this site using remote sensing equipment, they plan to reveal wreckage on an excursion in mid-June.

The state permit for the dig this summer comes after a decade of legal wrangling between the explorers, the State of Michigan, and even involving the French government, which owns Le Griffon. It was sailed by the famous explorer Robert de La Salle.