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No shipwreck found under timber

– After nearly a week of searching the muddy Lake Michigan bottom, a research team has failed to find the wreckage of a 17th century ship, but leaders said Thursday they weren’t giving up.

The mission to locate the Griffin, which was commanded by the French explorer Rene Robert Cavelier de la Salle and disappeared in 1679, was buoyed this week as French underwater archaeologists inspected a wooden beam protruding 10 feet from the lake bed.

But there was no ship below, only hard-packed claylike sediment extending to bedrock 20 feet down. The scientists and divers searched a wider area Thursday near Poverty Island, a few miles offshore of a remote section of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, with equipment that probes beneath the lake bed for signs of buried objects.

Again, no Griffin. But project manager Ken Vrana said the timber is definitely part of a shipwreck.

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