An old dugout canoe that could turn out to be an important historical artifact was unearthed by Hurricane Irma and, fortunately, recognized by a local bicyclist. He got a friend with a truck and they put it in the back to be sure it wasn’t picked up as storm debris. Then he contacted Florida’s Division of Historical Resources which sent an archaeologist to inspect it. The canoe weighed almost 700 pounds and was water soaked. It’s being stored in a fresh water pond while it’s being dated and until the conservation process can begin. Other old canoes that have been found were frozen or kept in water until proper restoration was possible. The water must be slowly removed. The wood could crack if the outside is dry and the inside is still wet. Next it is treated with chemicals to kill insects and mold and the dirt is removed. A soluble wax is melted, added to the water, and soaked up by the wood. The treatment process takes a long time and it may take several years before the canoe is ready to be displayed.


Photo: Randy Shots/Randy Lathrop