The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 27, 2013

Divers remove wood beam from possible Griffin site


Even so, three French archaeologists who inspected the timber said it appeared to be a bowsprit — a spur or pole that extends from a vessel's stem — that was hundreds of years old. Libert said he believes the rest of the Griffin (also known by its French name, Le Griffon) is nearby and plans to resume his search but needs to raise more money first. He says he's spent more than $1 million on his lengthy quest and the cost of last week's privately financed mission was "six figures."

In the meantime, the timber is being stored in a safe place, Libert said. He wouldn't reveal the location but said it's submerged in cold water and a chemical solution recommended by Rob Reedy, an underwater archaeologist and specialist in preserving shipwreck artifacts.

Vrana said the team is preparing a proposal to the state Department of Natural Resources for experts to study the beam in hopes of determining its age and where the tree from which it was hewn originated. La Salle ordered the Griffin constructed near Niagara Falls before sailing it west and north across portions of Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan.

Libert disputes the DNR's contention that the state owns shipwrecks embedded in Great Lakes bottomlands within its jurisdiction. But the two sides agreed the timber would be on loan to the expedition team for 30 days.

"We did this as an interim measure, to give us time to talk to them about what kind of testing and conservation comes next," said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan Historical Center, the DNR office that issued the excavation permit. She said she still wasn't convinced the timber was part of the Griffin or any other shipwreck.

Libert said he wants to redo a sonar scan that previously indicated the presence of an object field buried near the timber. As it turned out, the readings apparently picked up a thick layer of mussel shells and sediment layers. But if re-calibrated to penetrate the mussels, the sub-bottom profile might detect a buried deck or hull, he said.

"That area is definitely a shipwreck site," he said. "There probably will be another expedition going out before summer's end to do more probing."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014

  • Homeowner killed, another injured in Vegas crime spree LAS VEGAS — A horrific carjacking and home invasion spree ended with two people dead and a woman in critical condition. One victim, Richard Ramos, a 59-year-old father of four, “fought to his death” to protect his wife and children from their attack

    July 30, 2014

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-9 [Duplicate] UPDATE: Suspect in Minnesota officer killing in custody WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say a man wanted in the shooting death of an officer is in custody after being shot by police. St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos says 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. got out of a minivan firing at

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-3 [Duplicate] Minnesota officer killed making traffic stop WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A police officer in Minnesota was fatally shot Wednesday while making a traffic stop and authorities said they were searching for a suspect. Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, 47, was shot about 12:20 p.m. after pulli

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Possible suspect caught in Minnesota cop shooting WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A potential suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Minnesota has been captured. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the officer was killed. Television news footage showed the man being pulled from his vehicle Wednes

    July 30, 2014

  • Police shooting reported in West St. Paul WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — Police are responding to the reported shooting of an officer in West St. Paul. Details weren't immediately available. Calls from The Associated Press to several police and city departments in the area weren't immediately returne

    July 30, 2014

  • Mars rover Opportunity breaks the off-world driving record Opportunity, the little rover that could, has broken a 41-year-old driving distance record that’s out of this world. The decade-old NASA Mars rover has crossed the 25-mile mark, surpassing the 24.2-mile record held by the Russian moon rover Lunokhod

    July 30, 2014

  • Minnesota officials consider high-speed rail ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota officials are holding public meetings on a proposed high-speed train linking Rochester to the Twin Cities. Transportation planners from state and federal departments are evaluating possibilities for the Zip Rail pas

    July 30, 2014

  • Study finds 5 servings of produce is enough, but we're not eating it How many times will we have to be told? Apparently we haven’t reached the point when we’ll change our habits, but here goes again: Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day can help us live longer. That comes from researchers’ analysis

    July 30, 2014

  • GOP gov hopeful Honour wants state spending cap Tells St. Cloud Times he wants a statutory budget cap linked to population and inflation.

    July 29, 2014