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Centuries-old beam could hint at wreck

| Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 8:12 p.m.

FAIRPORT, Mich. — A wooden beam embedded at the bottom of northern Lake Michigan appears to have been there for centuries, underwater archaeologists announced on Tuesday, a crucial finding as crews dig toward what they hope is the carcass of a French ship that disappeared while exploring the Great Lakes in the 17th century.

Expedition leaders still weren't ready to declare they had found a shipwreck or the long-lost Griffin.

The ship, commanded by the French explorer Rene Robert Cavelier de la Salle, was never seen again after setting sail in September 1679 from an island near the entrance of Green Bay, in what is now northern Wisconsin, with a crew of a six and a cargo of furs.

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