Tamara Thomsen and Mallory Dragt thought they might take a spin below Lake Mendota on a few underwater scooters, motorized devices that scuba divers use to propel themselves by the water.
It was a stupendous Saturday morning in June, and the duo, who work at Diversions Scuba, debated whether or not they had simply seen a log protruding of the underside of the 9,781-acre lake or one thing extraordinarily uncommon.
The invention, on a slope in 27 toes of water close to Shorewood Hills, has turned out to be about as historic because it will get.
After a little bit of investigation, it seems that Thomsen, who can also be a maritime archaeologist for the Wisconsin Historic Society, was proper in judging that it was greater than only a log: It was a dugout canoe. A number of weeks later, carbon-14 courting confirmed that the 15-foot-long vessel was an estimated 1,200 years previous, the oldest intact boat ever present in Wisconsin waters.
On a brisk Tuesday, amid a chop of waves and 50-degree water, the canoe was delivered to shore by groups of divers who shared fist bumps and hugs to applause from residents of the Spring Harbor neighborhood who had gathered on the seashore to witness the canoe’s return to shore.
“That is the primary time this factor has been out of the water in 1,200 years. And perhaps they left from this very seashore to go fishing,” stated James Skibo, Wisconsin’s state archaeologist. “Not solely has it been underwater; it’s been below the bottom. The explanation it’s so properly preserved is that it has not been uncovered to the sunshine. In order that’s one of many causes now we have to begin preserving it. There’s residing organisms on it which might be chewing away on it as we communicate.”