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6,000-Year-Old Canoe To Be Removed

March 24, 1998

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) _ Scientists plan to excavate a 6,000-year-old wooden canoe in northeastern Nigeria, believed to be the oldest in sub-Saharan Africa.

The daily Guardian reported that a five-man team would begin the week-long excavation later this week in Dafuna, on the banks of the Komadugu-Gana River.

The canoe was first discovered in 1987 during a joint dig between the University of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria and Goethe University in Germany. Samples of the wood were later tested.

Gen. Izuakor, head of research at the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, said those tests indicated the canoe was the oldest found in Africa below the Sahara.

Izuakor said the discovery of the canoe in the Yobe region near the border with Niger indicates the area earlier had many more rivers and a richer vegetation. The area is now a semi-desert.

The canoe will be placed on exhibit later this spring in Damaturu, capital of Yobe state, 930 miles northeast of Lagos.

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