Sunday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 64. Sunrise is 6:38 AM and sunset 4:39 PM for 10h 00m 54s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 10% of its visible disk illuminated.
A dugout canoe emerged Tuesday from Madison’s Lake Mendota for the first time in 1,200 years.
A team of divers and archaeologists carefully extracted it from lake sediment 27 feet underwater and pulled it to a beach in the city’s Spring Harbor neighborhood to the cheers of historians and nearby residents.
The moment was a historic one. Discovered this summer by a Wisconsin Historical Society archaeologist while she was scuba diving for fun, it is the oldest fully intact dugout canoe in Wisconsin.
“I’m underwater an awful lot,” said Tamara Thomsen, the maritime archaeologist who spotted it in June. “I’ve never seen this underwater (before) and I don’t think I’ll ever get to again in my career.”
The canoe was in use around A.D. 800, according to carbon dating the archaeologists did on a sliver of wood before it was lifted out of the lake. With it now out of the water, experts are excited by what the boat might teach them about the early Native Americans who lived in the Madison area at the time and built effigy mounds that still dot the landscape today.
“Ninety-nine percent of the archaeological record is trash — broken things, things people have thrown away. Rarely do we find something that was lost or deposited as a whole thing,” said James Skibo, state archaeologist.