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This is the world’s oldest known boat: The Pesse Canoe

PortandTerminal.com, November 23, 2019

ASSEN, NETHERLANDS – In 1955 the Pesse Canoe was found by a local farmer in the Netherlands during highway construction. It is the oldest boat ever discovered, and certainly the oldest known canoe. Carbon dating indicates that the boat is about 10,000 years old and was constructed during the early Mesolithic period between 8040 BCE and 7510 BCE.

Experts at the Drents Museum where the canoe is on display, believe that it was made by digging out the inside of a pine log with flint and stone tools.

This is how a dugout boat was cut out from a tree trunk

Because some researchers wondered whether the piece might be an animal trough (though humans weren’t keeping animals at that time in the Netherlands), the museum created a replica and took it out on the water, proving that it would have floated.

A replica of the Pesse Canoe was created to demonstrate that it would indeed have worked as intended

Other similar canoes have been found in the Netherlands and in many other countries as well.

This dugout of alder wood was found during peat-digging at Verup in Åmosen, western Zealand in the Netherlands. The boat comes from the Early Neolithic, c. 3500 BC.

In North America, Florida holds the title to having the world’s largest concentration of ancient canoes, the oldest dugout being about 7,000 years old.

Example of a Florida dugout canoe discovery Photo: Courtesy of Florida State Dept.

According to the Florida Museum, there are almost 400 recorded dugouts over 235 sites, ranging up to 27 feet long. Most were crafted from pine or cypress using stone or shell tools in the pre-contact era. An amazing rare find happened 19 years ago when 101 dugouts, most 5,000 to 3,000 years old, were found in Newnan’s Lake near Gainesville; after documentation and carbon-dating 53 canoes, all were reburied in the lake bottom.

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