Sonar Imaging of Lake Minnetonka IDs New Wrecks

Maritime Heritage Minnesota has identified as many as 75 sonar anomalies believed to be human made.

Some exciting news has been announced by Maritime Heritage Minnesota (MHM) following completion of a side and down imaging sonar survey of Lower Lake Minnetonka and Crystal Bay in the Upper Lake.

From the survey, MHM designated through the Office of the State Archaeologist, three new nautical archaeological sites: 

  • Wayzata Bay Wreck (21-HE0401)
  • St. Albans Bay Wreck (21-HE0400)
  • Wreck 1 (21-HE0404)

Coordinates for the new sites will be released once archaeological documentation is completed.

The MHM has also designated one maritime archaeological site near the Big Island Steamboat Pier and completed necessary site forms to provide five known wrecks with archaeological designations:

  • George/Excelsior (21-HE0399) 
  • Minneapolis (21-HE0403)
  • Hopkins/Minnetonka (21-HE0396) 
  • Como (21-HE0397)
  • Hercules (21-HE0398)

Maritime Heritage Society has additionaly filed a site form update for the already-designated wreck, the White Bear (21-HE0281). 

In all, 152 anomalies were marked during the recent survey, and MHM determined 75 may represent human-made objects. One other wreck was also identified, but the age of the site could not be determined from the sonar image, so for the moment this wreck remains an "anomaly."

MHM says they are confidant that an additional 13 anomalies are wrecks of various types, including small row boats and sailing vessels of considerable size. An additional nine anomalies are "possible" wrecks, but their sonar signatures are less distinctive than the 13 "probable" wrecks.

Other anomalies were recorded that suggest square objects, such as sunken fish houses or other artifacts. One anomaly suggests that it is a dive tower used for recreation in the early 20th Century.

Click here to read the full report.

This project was funded in part by a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grant, part of  the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Maritime Heritage Minnesota is hoping a grant now being considered will allow the group to survey the remainder of Lake Minnetonka this spring.

Editor's note: Information provided by the Maritime Heritage Minnesota


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