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Suspected 70 year Boy Scout sunken canoe actually 1200 years old (WI)

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Tamara Thomsen, a maritime archaeologist, first spotted the canoe while riding an underwater scooter in the Lake Mendota in June.

Thomsen initially speculated that the boat was made by Boy Scouts in the 1950s, reports Sophie Carson for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But when archaeologists removed a sliver of wood for carbon dating, they realized the true age of the vessel, which was likely built by a group known as the Effigy Moundbuilders.


Wisconsin State Archaeologist James Skibo tells CNN that he was surprised to learn how old the canoe actually is.

“I looked at it and it was in such a wonderful state of preservation that I was very suspicious ... because wood typically doesn’t survive that long,” he adds.

Skibo says the boat most likely survived intact because it was constantly wet and shielded from sunlight at a depth of about 27 feet. Currents had moved the vessel from its original resting spot, so the archaeologists knew it would only be a matter of time before algae and other organisms destroyed the wood.


The Effigy Moundbuilders were Late Woodland people who lived in what’s now Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa between 750 and 1200 C.E., Rosebrough told Elizabeth Dohms-Harter of Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) last year. While earlier groups living in the area built conical or linear mounds, the Effigy Mounds were shaped to look like animals or spirits. Thousands of mound sites have been found in Wisconsin alone, each potentially containing hundreds of different types of mounds.




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