Ca­noe un­earthed by Hur­ri­cane Irma could be hun­dreds of years old

Iran Daily - - Art & Culture -

A Florida pho­tog­ra­pher on an early-morn­ing bike ride the day af­ter Hur­ri­cane Irma rav­aged the coast stum­bled upon a dugout ca­noe that may be hun­dreds of years old, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials.

“As soon as I saw it, I knew ex­actly what it was,” Randy Lathrop, a self-pro­claimed his­tory buff, told ABC News of his un­usual dis­cov­ery.

The ca­noe washed up from the In­dian River, north of Co­coa, Florida, along what lo­cals have dubbed Florida’s ‘Space Coast’ for its prox­im­ity to the Kennedy Space Cen­ter and Cape Canaveral Air Force Sta­tion.

“I can look across the river and see the launch pad and the ve­hi­cle assem­bly build­ing. It’s a real con­trast,” Lathrop said of the area where the ca­noe was found, which is steeped in Na­tive Amer­i­can his­tory.

He im­me­di­ately con­tacted the Florida Divi­sion of His­tor­i­cal Re­sources be­fore some­one could mis­take it for de­bris and throw it away.

“It looked just like a log,” said Lathrop. “My main con­cern was to se­cure it from harm’s way. I was able to go half a mile away and get my friend with a truck and we strug­gled to get into the back of the truck. It weighs al­most 700 pounds, but to me, it might as well have weighed 1,000 pounds. It’s been wa­ter soaked for years.”

The 15-foot-long ca­noe could be any­where from sev­eral decades to sev­eral hun­dred years old, ac­cord­ing to Sarah Rev­ell, a spokes­woman with the depart­ment. Car­bon dat­ing will help to nar­row down the boat’s age.

“Florida is a trea­sure trove of unique his­tory and we are ex­cited about the re­cent dis­cov­ery of the dugout ca­noe,” Rev­ell told ABC News. “As we con­tinue to eval­u­ate and learn more about the ca­noe, our goal is to en­sure it is pre­served and pro­tected for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions in the lo­cal com­mu­nity and across Florida to learn from and en­joy.”

The ca­noe has a squared off form, which Rev­ell said is com­monly seen in the his­toric pe­riod (from 1513 to about 50 years ago in Florida), but there are sev­eral un­com­mon fea­tures on it too: Com­part­ments, square nails and what ap­pears to be a seat.

“The com­part­ments are a bit out of the or­di­nary,” she said. “The square nails are cut nails. Cut nails were first in pro­duc­tion in the early 19th cen­tury so that helps to in­di­cate it is a his­toric ca­noe.”

Lathrop said he was ex­cited to get the ca­noe off the road to save it for the pub­lic.

“It be­longs to the state, it be­longs to the peo­ple of Florida. That’s the law,” he said.

Rev­ell said the ca­noe was eval­u­ated by a pro­fes­sional arche­ol­o­gist based in Canaveral on Septem­ber 14. It is cur­rently be­ing kept wet in an undis­closed safe place.


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