There are thousands of prehistoric copper pit mines in the western upper peninsula and on Isle Royale. That's how we know that somebody carted off a half-million to a billion tons of copper hundreds of years before the trappers set foot in Michigan and before the modern copper mining industry started in the U-P.  But where did that copper go, and who mined it? Now we may have a clue.

Ron Rademacher, author of "Michigan Back Roads: Oddities & Rarities,"  has been following the mystery for some time and has written about it on his web page.  The speculation has been that people from Egypt, China, Phoenicia or Scandinavia sailed into the Great Lakes and hauled out the copper..

Rademacher, who appeared on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins, said carbon dating on the pit mines dates back to 2500 BC.  He says the theory is that the copper was shipped to Europe to supply the metal necessary for the Bronze Age.  He says odd clues have been found as to who mined the copper.  One is the MacIntosh Stone.

In the mid 1980s, Charley Macintosh was out picking agates on the tip of the
Keweenaw peninsula. On of the stones he found was covered with odd engravings.
The stone is small, about the size of two dimes laid side by side. Rademacher says experts date the stone's origin to 200 b.c. to 300 a.d.  This past July, high resolution photos where taken and reveal never before seen details.

Knight Side – shows a man kneeling in front of another man. Receiving a

Macintosh Stone-Knight Side-Photo by Ron Rademacher
Macintosh Stone-Knight Side-Photo by Ron Rademacher


Ship Side – shows a ship in the lower left. Above the ship is a symbol that
has been interpreted as a buckler meaning, "thrust out [to sea] at launching.”

Macintosh Stone-Ship side-Photo by Ron Rademacher
Macintosh Stone-Ship side-Photo by Ron Rademacher

This stone is a subject of an article in the current issue of Ancient American
Magazine. The article deals with the Knight Side.

So far experts disagree on the origin.  One believes it to be Mediterranean and the other Native American.
The MacIntosh Stone is available to see at the Nahma Inn in Nahma Michigan.

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