Boaters Discover a Very Old Dugout Canoe Near a River in Louisiana - Atlas Obscura
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Boaters Discover a Very Old Dugout Canoe Near a River in Louisiana

It was probably built by American Indians.

The canoe.
The canoe. The Louisiana Office of Cultural Development/Public Domain

A couple weeks ago, some boaters on the Red River near Shreveport, Louisiana, came upon an abandoned dugout canoe just off the shore. It was carved from the trunk of a tree and didn’t quite survive the intervening years completely intact, but the outlines of what it once was were clear. Canoes like this one are among the most common types of archaic vessels to be found in modern days, since big hunks of wood tend to age pretty well.

Another view.
Another view. The Louisiana Office of Cultural Development/Public Domain

State archaeologists later visited the site and took its measurements. The canoe was 33 feet long and about three feet at its widest, meaning that it was big enough for a sizable crew. Archaeologists are now using radiocarbon dating to determine the boat’s age and confirm suspicions that it was built by American Indians.

According to the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development, the canoe has since been given to the state of Louisiana by the owners of the land where it was found. The dugout will now be restored and eventually displayed locally. Authorities were in the process of removing the canoe Wednesday.

As the Office of Cultural Development wrote on Facebook, “That was one big tree!”

The canoe.
The canoe. Louisiana Office of Cultural Development/Public Domain