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Lake Michigan shipwreck exploration to take place next week

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-08 22:22:53-04

CHARLEVOIX, Mich. – Steve Libert has long awaited finding sunken treasure at the bottom of the Great Lakes.

After searching for 30 years, Libert and his team of archaeologists and scientists are congregating on the shores of Lake Michigan, hoping to find out if a shipwreck they've stumbled upon is the famous French vessel, Le Griffon. Le Griffon is believed to have sank in 1679.

"The next step is to go down and see what we have, and that means getting in there, uncovering it," Libert said.

Libert plans to take France's top underwater archaeologists to the site next week. Examining the construction of the ship will confirm whether or not the shipwreck is French made.

If the ship is identified as Le Griffon, work to preserve the site will begin. Libert is hoping that if it is the French ship, he can manage to get a 99-year lease so that he will still have the opportunity to work with it. Even if the ship isn't Le Griffon, Libert says there is still value to the finding.

"If it's not the Le Griffon, it's still a very ancient wreck 'cause it's one of the oldest, I can tell you right now, as far as the construction, that I've never seen in the Great Lakes."