Broward News

Florida Boy Discovers Ancient Dugout Canoe

A 7-year-old boy has already done more in his young life than you ever will after he got his Indiana Jones on and discovered what appears to be an ancient canoe.

Koen Ergle was scuba diving in Owen Lake near Ocala when he spotted a piece of wood dug into about eight feet of water.

Turns out, the piece of wood is an ancient dugout canoe, possibly several hundred years old.

The discovery was made several weeks ago, when the boy was taking scuba lessons from his grandfather in the lake.

State officials and historical researchers visited the area soon after and immediately began plans to dig out the canoe, which seemed to be preserved and in very good condition.

After several weeks of digging, officials were able to get the 20-foot-long dugout canoe out of the water. They plan on putting it up as an exhibit at that Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology, once the canoe has been dried and prepped.

Officials took samples of the ancient wood in order to carbon-date it. Results won't be known for months.

Julia Byrd, senior archaeologist for the Bureau of Archaeological Research, Division of Historical Resources, came to the site and measured the canoe. She took samples and photographs and carefully studied the artifact.

"Many of the canoes found in Florida turn out to be made of pine, rather than cypress," Byrd said. "It's really hard to tell if they are prehistoric or historic. We used to think that the more refined canoes came later, but that is not always the case. People have been living in this area for thousands of years, so that is why we are doing carbon dating."

The boy also apparently found a shard of pottery nearby the ancient canoe, which is thought to be up to 2,000 years old.

When asked about his discovering a piece of native Floridian history, Koen replied, "I thought it was cool."

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Chris Joseph
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