Carbon dating indicates that the vessel was in use around A.D. 800, centuries before European arrival.
Wisconsin Historical Society maritime archaeologists recovered a historic dugout wood canoe from the bottom of Lake Mendota in the US state of Wisconsin yesterday, just a few months after learning of its existence in June 2021. The canoe is a remarkable artifact, made from a single tree.
Tamara Thomsen, a maritime archaeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society, a WDHOF Fellow, and owner of Diversions Scuba, first came across what she thought was a log sticking out of the bottom of the lake while riding an underwater scooter in June alongside co-worker Mallory Dragt, CNN reports. After investigating the find, Thomsen determined the log was actually a dugout canoe.
Excavation of the area around the canoe began in late October 2021, and maritime archaeologists recovered artifacts from the site early on in their process. Net sinkers, rocks that were flattened by hand tooling, were recovered from within the canoe, indicating the vessel may have been used for fishing.
The canoe was raised from a depth of about 30 feet (approximately 9 metres) with the assistance of the Dane County Sheriff’s dive team. The canoe was transported to Wisconsin’s State Archive Preservation Facility and placed into a custom-built storage vat containing water and a bio-deterrent to protect the canoe from physical deterioration. Over time, a chemical solution will be added to the vat which will eventually replace the water in the cellular structure of the wood. The preservation process is estimated to take approximately 3 years.