Rare historic canoe found among South Carolina river rapids

July 10, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, SC. (AP) — Conservationists have pulled a historic canoe from a river at the Georgia-South Carolina line and plan to put it on display.

Volunteers with the Chattooga Conservancy hauled the weathered wooden canoe out of the South Carolina side of the Chattooga River on Tuesday after a group of canoeists headed downstream discovered the craft last fall, The State newspaper in Columbia reports.

Archaeologists at the University of South Carolina say the boat could be 200 to 250 years old, a discovery that could shed light on life in the late 1700s.

Canoes of that age are rarely found along the Chattooga, a free-flowing mountain river that runs along the Georgia-South Carolina border.

Most of South Carolina’s historic canoes have been found in the state’s Lowcountry region, said underwater archaeologist James Spirek.


“Up in the mountains on the rivers, they’re a little rare,” Spirek told the newspaper. “It’s interesting to find people were using canoes on some of these wild rivers.’’

The experts said the canoe was hollowed out using an iron hatchet or ax, suggesting it was made after Europeans settled in the Southeast. A nail was also found at one end of the canoe.

Volunteers are expected next week to pull the boat up a mountain slope and down a bank to then float it down a calmer river stretch to the Georgia side. There, volunteers will have an easier time moving the canoe out of the river corridor for storage or display.

Buzz Williams of the Chattooga Conservancy said he’s been talking with museums in both states about taking the canoe.