Couple Find Huge Ancient Native American Canoe In Louisiana Mud Bank


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

Although radiocarbon dating results are yet to be back, archaeologists think the canoe dates back to pre-European colonization. Louisiana Office of Cultural Development

While taking a gentle paddle down the Red River of Louisiana, two boaters stumbled across a huge Native American canoe buried in the mud, which could turn out to be up to 1,000 years old.

Researchers from Louisiana Office of Cultural Development’s Division of Archeology quickly jumped on the scene of this exciting discovery when it was found two weeks ago by a local couple. The archaeologists took a wood sample back to the lab for radiocarbon dating to provide an accurate date for the boat. All being in shape, this will confirm their suspicions that the vessel dates back to a time before European colonization. Reportedly, it could be between 800 and 1,000 years old.


The canoe measures around 10.2 meters (33 feet) in length and 90 centimeters (3 feet) in width, weighing around 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds). The vessel is a dugout canoe fashioned from a single hollowed tree trunk, which is typical of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. As the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development said in a Facebook post announcing the discovery: “That was one big tree!”

The boat was removed from the muddy bank on June 21. Time was of the essence when it came to rescuing the canoe, as a storm was set to hit the area the following day. Experts feared that the heavy rain could disrupt the riverbank and potentially cause damage to the already fragile vessel.

The landowner has already donated the canoe to the state of Louisiana, who will pass it on to Texas A&M University for conservation and preservation. The end goal is to put the canoe on display so the public can appreciate and learn about the area's heritage.

Archaeologist Dr Jeffrey Girard, who helped to survey the canoe, told Fox 33 News the last artifact like this was discovered back in 1983. Girard also explained that the canoe was utilized to travel long distances along the Red River so its owners could trade at Caddo settlements in east Texas and southwest Arkansas.


"It's not common to find them,” he added. “It's only the second [canoe] we've found in this area. They're both very similar to one another and very large.”



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