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Timber found in Lake Michigan centuries old; is it the famous ship lost in 1679?

By John Flesher

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

In this photo made June 16, 2013, and provided by Great Lakes Exploation Group, diver Jim Nowka of Great Lakes Exploration Group inspects a wooden beam extending from the floor of Lake Michigan that experts believe may be part of the Griffin, a ship that sank in 1679. Crews are digging a pit at the base of the beam to see if it's attached to a buried ship.

David J. Ruck, Great Lakes Exploration Group, Associated Press

FAIRPORT, Mich. — Scientists say a wooden beam extending from the floor of northern Lake Michigan appears to have been there for centuries, an important finding as they try to determine whether it's part of the Griffin, the first European-style ship to sail on the upper Great Lakes.

Marine archaeologists from the U.S. and France are studying the timber and digging a pit beneath it. They said Tuesday a probing device has detected what appears to be a solid surface 18 to 20 feet below the lake floor.

They say they're still not certain they're dealing with a shipwreck. But Michel L'Hour of France's Department of Underwater Archaeological Research says the timber appears to be a bowsprit, which is a pole that extends from a vessel's stem.

The Griffin disappeared in 1679.

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