1,000-Year-Old Native American Canoe

New testing revealed this week that a dugout canoe displayed at the small Pioneer Museum in Long Lake, Minn., is 1,000 years old.

It was originally dated to the mid-1700s, but radiocarbon testing now dates it to between 1025 and 1165 A.D, making it the oldest dugout canoe found in Minnesota.

The canoe was discovered by two brothers, G. A. and Helmer Gunnarson, in 1934. They were extending a dock on Lake Minnetonka, a large body of water near Minneapolis.

Dugout canoe on display; photo courtesy of the Western Hennepin County Pioneer Association

“We’ve always thought it was 200, 300 years old,” Russ Ferrin, a retiree who runs the Pioneer Museum, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “And then they came back and said it was 1,000 years old. It totally shocked us.”

Photo courtesy the Western Hennepin County Pioneer Association

—Sean McCoy

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Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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