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Tiny Canoe 1,000 Year-Old Find: Family Discovers Boat While Building Dock During Drought

Apr 11, 2014 04:44 PM EDT | By Justin Stock
Canoe, Drought

A canoe made 1,000 years ago is the most ancient boat of its kind.

Scientists examined the boat via radio carbon experiments to find that the water vessel did not go all the way back to the 1700s as originally thought Reuters reported Friday.

"It was a total shock," Russ Ferrin, president of the Western Hennepin County Pioneer Association museum told Reuters. "It's been kind of in a background display; not much was made of it."

"We've always thought it was 200, 300 years old," Ferrin told The Minneapolis Star Tribune. "And then they came back and said it was 1,000 years...," Ferrin told The Star Tribune.

The museum plans to hold onto the artifact.

"We intend to keep it as long as we can protect it," Ferrin told Reuters.

The museum looked long and hard for the canoe, but were unable to locate it until recently.

"We were looking for that canoe and there it was," Ann Merriman, a nautical archaeologist at the Maritime Heritage Minnesota told Reuters.

A family discovered the boat in 1934 underneath the mud of Lake Minnetonka located in the suburbs of Minneapolis when a pole belonging to the dock they were constructing during a drought that significantly lowered the water in the lake hit what they originally thought was a log Reuters reported.

Several museums had the canoe before the Western Hennepin County Pioneer Association grabbed it in 1961 for show in an old schoolhouse that is now a museum after  The museum is open Saturdays, and with an appointment.

The museum looked at certain aspects of the canoe including how old it was in collaboration with the Maritime History Minnesota project.

People customarily built canoes by charring the middle of tree trunks after they toppled to the ground, and then designing the interiors according to Merriam Reuters reported.

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