[UPDATE] Old American Indian Canoe Recovered in Lake Munson

By: Jennifer Milton/ AP Email
By: Jennifer Milton/ AP Email

D.W. Jones has discovered a piece of history. The 16-year old, his daughter and his father Dennis were spending the day at Lake Munson near Tallahassee when they stumbled upon an ancient American Indian Canoe that historians believe could be 500 to 800 years old.

"How is this thing still here for it to be so old you know. It's just like you see, you know you get a piece of fire wood and two years later it's rotten and destroyed. But, just something to be 800 years old and be wood, it's unbelievable," said Jones.

Historic conservators believe the 23 foot long dugout canoe belonged to the Apalachee Indian tribe who used to fish, hunt and gather food in the water. Historical experts say they are blown away by its superior condition.

"The technology that they had at the time to be able to build a canoe this nice, it's pretty amazing to me, when you look at it, how crisply and cleanly it's made and the tools that they had available, shells, sharks teeth, flint," said James Levy.

The enormous canoe took 12 people nearly 6 hours to excavate the rare artifact in tip-top shape.

"Whoever did it was really good because it has sharp 90 degree corners on it and nice clean platforms on the end with just good,sharp edges, so they were very good at it," said Levy.

The canoe is currently at the Museum of Florida History but conservators plan to examine the item further and eventually will put it on display.

More than 350 dugout canoes have been discovered in Florida, but around 1 in 50 are in good condition.

An American Indian dugout canoe believed to be 500 to 800 years old has been recovered from the muck of a lake bed south of Tallahassee.

State archaeologists said Tuesday, November 30 that the 23-foot-long canoe is unusual because it is well-preserved and each end is finely carved.

More than 350 dugout canoes have been found in Florida, some
dating back 6,000 years, but most are degraded from repeated
periods of wetting and drying.

The canoe was exposed when Lake Munson was drawn down.
Crawfordville resident Dennis Jones first reported the canoe to the
Florida Museum of History.

Archaeologists removed it Monday so it can be conserved and
exhibited and to protect it from curiosity seekers who tried to dig
it out.

Pictures are attached above.

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  • by alcycle Location: NY on Dec 6, 2010 at 07:59 PM
    I think it is very interesting & someone should use it as a model perhaps, to make a new one & see how it handles (like a log?) I think if it were not water logged for so long...would it handle different! BTW, it sure appears narrow....how stable was it to use???
  • by Anonymous on Dec 6, 2010 at 06:19 AM
    I helped excavate that canoe. 2 guys did NOT carry that thing anywhere. It's 23 feet long, and it's HEAVY. It's a hollowed out log folks, it weighs a ton.
  • by John Location: Indiana on Dec 5, 2010 at 09:54 AM
    Is there still and Apalachee nation? If there is it should be turned over to them as owners and make arrangements to keep it in the Fl museum.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 4, 2010 at 06:38 AM
    Folks, this is a dugout canoe. Canoes in EARLY history where the major way of getting around,that and thier FEET. They were carried by one or more from stream to the other. When there wasn't anymore water for 10up to 20miles they HID it, on their way home etc, pick it back up and go on to where they went to. Indians would hunt and fish for miles. SOME could walk 10 to somewhat more miles a day,camp for the night and go on. This was thier life. Horses were not around for them much if any. Later,that was a big change in thier life! The period of the Apalachee tribe were to be sure very little chance of a horse. SO they kept canoes close as they could to thierself. I am sure when we can go and see this great artifact most or all the facts will be given.
  • by la on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:46 PM
    If you do any research you can see that canoes were sometime carried from stream to stream. Natives did and also the early settlers and mountain men did all the time. When they had no water for miles and miles. They would hide it till they came back for it. SENCE most of the time there were at least two or more it was no problem to do so.
  • by V! Location: Here on Dec 2, 2010 at 04:49 PM
    While I HIGHLY doubt they carried that thing farther than from where the tree was cut down to the nearest water, that it is there is no surprise. It's recorded in Spanish documents that during the rainy season you could get a canoe from St. Marks to within a cannonshot of mission San Luis. Yeah, it wasn't Lake Munson then, but it WAS low lying ground, and water most likely covered a good bit of that area during the wetter part of the year.
  • by tech 1 Location: tallahasse on Dec 2, 2010 at 12:43 PM
    The Indians used this vessel to catch pointed head crappies.
  • by nOLES Location: TALLY on Dec 2, 2010 at 07:24 AM
    hey I DON'T MISS THE SHIFT KEY. I got your attention didn't I. No,I don't enjoy critcizing anyone,but if You took it purposely then you got it again. Like I said, REREAD THE ARTICLE. THE TRIBE was NOT SEMINOLES Nor did it say anything about VIKINGS. The tribe was Apalachee and they have been around HERE long before the seminoles were. Native American's would carry canoes for miles from one water to another if needed. Other men did also. So nothing surprizes me about the location. When it is available for the public to see go see for youself. I belive all of the questions will be answered. AND surpise you are nuts. Elizabeth,R ck,FDD and Gina I can't wait to see ya at the museum. This is a great artifact!! We can have a wonderfull time relishing this wonder that has been found.
  • by me Location: ga on Dec 2, 2010 at 05:55 AM
    Really enjoyed this news story.
  • by Surprise Location: leon county on Dec 2, 2010 at 02:25 AM
    Goober and the others that think they know but know squat will back up when the volcano to our south close to the gulf blows its top and then when the round viking appears yawl will cheer as he's a Giver of both knowledge and local lore bring your own bug spray and gas for your weed whackers and hip boots as its gonnas get deep. (wink) its been real? Really. (smile)
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