Archaeologists Find 700-Year-Old Dugout Canoe Buried in Mud in Cape Porpoise Harbor

   06.19.19

Extracted from the mud along Maine’s coast, archaeologists have found a 700-year-old dugout canoe estimated to date back between 1200 and 1300 A.D.

“This one carbon dates between 1200 and 1300 A.D., give or take a few years,” Tim Spahr, of the Cape Porpoise Archaeological Alliance, told the Bangor Daily News.

Carved from a single yellow birch log, the ancient canoe is indicative of a semi-permanent Native American settlement in Cape Porpoise, and that American history stretches back thousands of years prior to European contact.

700-year-old Dugout Canoe
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Spahr pin-pointed the canoe last November in the mud between Redin Islad, Stage Island and the shore. It was low tide and he was hustling to conduct his regular survey of the mud flats – that’s when he hit archaeological gold.

“All of a sudden, I just came across two lines [of wood] and they looked like boat gunnels,” Spahr recalled.

700-year-old dugout canoe
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This wasn’t the first time he surveyed that particular area, but a large part of intertidal archaeology, is continually monitoring the same ground, time after time.

“What you’re going to find on land is going to be found in your first survey,” Spahr said. “But that’s not the case in intertidal archaeology.”

700-year-old dugout canoe
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Since the dazzling discovery, this genuine piece of American heritage has been carefully placed in a storage container for freshwater flushing so it can be preserved and hopefully put on display at a museum.

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