Long before European explorers and settlers landed on the coast of Maine, Native Americans were plying its coastal rivers and bays in handmade “dugout” canoes made from logs shaped by hand with primitive tools and fire.
But up until last week, the only examples of the indigenous watercraft found were carbon dated after Europeans arrived. Now researchers have discovered a dugout canoe buried in the mud that predates European explorers and settlers.
“This one carbon dates between 1200 and 1300 A.D., give or take a few years,” said archaeologist Tim Spahr, of the Cape Porpoise Archaeological Alliance, in an interview with Bangor Daily News.
This type of canoe was widely used by Native Americans not just in what is now coastal Maine, but up and down most all of America’s waterways. Made from a single log, the insides were often hollowed out with a combination of fire and hand tools. The construction technique was so simple and effective that European settlers quickly adapted the methods to larger craft. Log-bottom skipjacks and bugeyes native to the Chesapeake Bay were often made by bolting together several logs before being scooped out with axes and adzes.
You can find out more about the discovery by reading this article by Bangor Daily News.