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Divers Testing Equipment In Lake Bottom Find Ancient Indian Canoe

August 29, 1985

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. (AP) _ An Indian canoe thought to be at least 2,000 years old and in very good condition has been found embedded in a lake bottom by divers who were testing depth-recording equipment.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office sent a diving team to search Magnolia Lake, near this North Florida town, about a month ago after receiving reports that a safe was on the bottom of the lake.

The team came up with nothing but a large kitchen sink, said sheriff’s Lt. Richard Trew. Then the divers moved to the northwest corner of the lake to test the boat’s equipment and spotted a large spring.

In investigating the spring, the team located the canoe in sand in about 25 feet of water.

Unable to pull the canoe free, the divers left but returned two weeks ago and this time succeeded, bringing the vessel to the surface.

Trew called Lee Ann Newsom at the University of Florida’s Department of Anthropology and described the canoe.

According to Newsom, it sounded like a description of a type of canoe made by the Timucuan Indians, and might be 2,000 to 6,000 years old.

The canoe was taken to a temporary holding facility on the St. Johns River near Green Cove Springs, where Newsom inspected it.

Newsom confirmed that the canoe is prehistoric but also took wood samples for more conclusive laboratory tests. She said that according to a microscopic examination of a sample of the wood, the canoe is in very good condition.

The canoe is made of southern hard or yellow pine and is 161/2 feet long and 11/2 feet wide. It shows signs of fire-hollowing and tool marks, the anthropologist said.

The ancient vessel will be kept underwater until a laboratory in Tallahassee can begin preservation.

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