Historical canoe discovered in Lawrence County - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Historical canoe discovered in Lawrence County

A piece of Mississippi history, under water for more than 100 years, surfaced in the Pearl River in Monticello last weekend. Now it's at Turcotte Lab in Madison County.

"This is a 14-foot cypress log that has been rough-hewn into a roughly made canoe," says David Abbott, Archaeologist with the Mississippi Department of Archives & History.

Abbott says it was probably made in the late 1800's to early 1900's as part of the logging industry along the river at that time. He's certain it's not Native American.

"It was cut with an axe. So we know Native Americans did not have steel tools before they were introduced by Europeans," he says. "The outside of the log is unmodified so it's not like they very carefully shaped a boat, this is something that somebody hacked out of a log in order to have a quickly made boat."

Employees with the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and the Mississippi State Geological Survey, hoisted the boat out of the pond for us to see. But it will have to stay waterlogged for now. After a century under water, exposure to air would cause the wood to decompose.

"The key to this was to get it out in one piece very carefully while it was still wet and put it in an environment where it stays wet, so it doesn't dehydrate and start to crumble," Abbott tells us.

In the coming weeks, the canoe will be pulled out and preserved for further study. It's unknown right now where it will be displayed. 

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