A 1,000-year-old Waccamaw Indian dug canoe was retrieved from Lake Waccamaw near Wilmington, North Carolina after it was discovered by three teenagers having a fun day out.
The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology and the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe worked together to retrieve a 930-year-old canoe from Lake Waccamaw.
Canoes have long held a special place in the traditions of the Americas’ indigenous tribes, particularly in the northern half. Canoes of various shapes, sizes, and forms were the primary mode of transportation throughout the Pacific Northwest until long after European colonization.
A statement from the North Carolina American Indian Heritage Commission said it was found on the lakebed and underneath a private dock.
The chief of the Waccamaw Siouan tribe, Michael Jacobs, said it’s rare to find pieces of history like this one. The canoe is a symbol of nearly 1,000 years of Native American culture in southeastern North Carolina.
“That canoe at 28 feet long would have carried many a brave. We feel like in our heart, it’s a history that we’re still exploring and understanding because this is the first time we’ve had access,” Chief Jacobs said in an interview with local new station WECT.
According to Wilmington, North Carolina CBS affiliate WWAY, the canoe was discovered two years ago by three boys swimming in the lake. Tribe and state authorities were contacted and its location was marked until it could be safely removed, the station said.
The report said that the canoe was touched and prayed over by descendants of those who lived there long ago before it was placed in a protective container.
State archaeologist John Mintz said Hill’s discovery led to a lengthy removal process, but it was worth it in the end.
“This canoe is about 1000 years old, and it’s a Southeastern Indian canoe, and it’s originated from this area. So, we wanted the local Indian group to be part of it and share it with the agency of it,” Mintz said.
The canoe will be transported to a lab in Greenville to be preserved and studied, with the hope that it will reveal its secrets.