Hurricane Irma Unearths a Canoe Hidden in Florida’s Indian River for Centuries

Facebook/Randy Shots

For all of the destruction left in its path, Hurricane Irma also managed to do a service to history. From the depths of the Indian River in Florida, an old dugout canoe was unearthed in the hurricane’s wake.

The canoe was found while local photographer Randy Lathrop was biking near the river. A self-proclaimed archaeologist, Lathrop told ABC News, “As soon as I saw it, I knew exactly what it was.”

Lathrop took to Facebook to publically share photos of the canoe. He dives into further details in follow-up responses to his initial post. In one, Lathrop deduces that the canoe is made of cypress and says it was “found near an old trail that use to run from City Point. Probably pioneer 1800s.”

Though dugout canoes are an ancient invention, they exist in more modern incarnations as well. In Florida, various Native American tribes are notorious for having used these types of canoes.

A Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research professional came to assess the canoe on Sept. 14. In another Facebook post, the Florida Division of Historical Resources states that it may take weeks before we know more about the canoe. They cite the lengthy carbon dating process as the reason.

However, the post contains several initial facts about the dugout canoe that can lead to speculation. It assesses that Lathrop’s find is “maximum several hundred years old and minimum probably several decades old.” Initial studies date the canoe to be at least 50 years old. The canoe also has a “probable association with saltwater.”

The canoe’s red and white coloring may also give a hint to its origins. These are some of the colors of Florida’s Seminole tribe.

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