Michigan Stonehenge? - "or it's probably just random stones that appear to make some shape..."
Vikings, Phoenicians, Egyptians or the lost tribe of Israel in Michigan? What?! According to author Mark Jager and his Mystic Michigan series of books, Michigan might have been home to these four groups of people at some point. Writing his books based on mysterious archaeological evidence found in Michigan, Jager tells about a stone circle similar in nature to Stonehenge found on Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island that could have been built by any of these ancient groups. I raised my eyebrow when I read this and wondered why us Michiganders had never heard of such an extraordinary discovery. According to the book, Beaver Island doesn’t want it to be a tourist attraction. There are “thirty-nine stones forming a 397 foot circle.” The stones vary in size and as to how the stones got there is the biggest mystery of them all.
The stones were discovered a little over two decades ago in 1985. Terry Bussey was looking for Native American artifacts and found something she wasn’t planning on. When she came upon the stones, something told her that they weren’t placed there by nature. There seemed to be a pattern and some stones appeared to have been hand carved. Bussey used a compass, spent a couple nights under the stars with the stones, and noticed that the stones connect to star positions and later research found the stones were aligned to the midsummer solstice. Some archaeologists shrug the stones off as nothing, while others speculate they were placed by the Mound Builders from thousands of years ago.
My cousin spent a school year teaching at the Beaver Island Lighthouse School. She took some pictures of the stones that can be viewed from this page and in our photo album. The stones aren’t much but you can tell just from the pictures that there seems to be a pattern to them. Or not. The picture below is the main center stone and as you can tell, there is a carved indent on the top that looks like a bowl. Recent offerings sit inside it from Native Americans who regard the place as a sacred spot.
(Believed to be the main stone within the circle. People have left offerings in the depression. Photo by Kristin Speer.)
There are smaller groups of circles that have been added onto for spiritual purposes and the pattern of the stones is similar to that of a Native American medicine wheel. The thing that perplexes archaeologists about the stones is the fact that the bands of Native Americans around that area didn’t create stone monuments. So who made it…? Is it even anything to bat an eyelash at? Or are we just trying to make sense of the stones that are "just there" and nothing more.
Written by Amberrose Hammond
Reader Submission - September 2010
--I think it is relevant to mention that, while many of the stones on Beaver Island do show signs of carving or bowl-like depressions, many of the stones of the "circle" have been moved from their original positions when a road was built right through the circle. Having lived on the island for many years and looking into this phenomenon myself, I feel that it's far less mysterious than most people hope; it's just some rocks in a clearing--
Jager, Mark. Mystic Michigan Part One. 3 rd Ed. Marion: Zosma Publications, 1999.
Sodders, Betty. Michigan Prehistory Mysteries. Avery Color Studios, 1990.