The waterways of North Carolina had been hiding a true treasure for over a thousand years until three teens accidentally stepped on a century old canoe they believed to be a log at first some two years ago.
The canoe, which belonged to the Waccamaw Siouan Indians, was settled close to where an 18th century French slave ship was recovered in 1996. The ship, which was initially called La Concorde, was captured in 1717 by notorious pirate Blackbeard who later remained it Queen Anne’s Revenge. When the wreck was brought to the surface, there were a bounty of artifacts discovered, like the anchor and loaded canons of all sizes.
The dugout canoe, which predates Queen’s Anne Revenge by hundreds of years, was retrieved from Lake Waccamaw’s swampy waters in April 2023 as it took two years for a plan to be made for it to be taken out without damaging it. If sunken artifacts are mishandled, or improperly exposed to air they can easily crumble.
Michael Jacobs, the Waccamaw Siouan Chief, said, “That canoe at 28 feet long would have carried many a brave,” and added: “We feel like in our heart, it’s a history that we’re still exploring and understanding because this is the first time we’ve had access.”
The canoe was discovered by teens Eli Hill, Jackson Holcomb, and Creek Hyatt in the summer of 2021. “I stepped on it and I thought it was a log,” said Hill. “I tried to pick it up and it never came up. So, we kept digging at it and it just kept going. And then the next day, we came back and we started digging some more and it just kept going.”
The teens’ families contacted The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology who sent a team to explore further. When the canoe was finally taken out this year, a number of members of the Waccamaw Siouan Tibe were there to witness the historical moment. “Our history is still unfolding. When the colonists made contact with our tribe, there’s a lot of the things that we hailed as historical and meaningful to us that we’re still putting together,” Jacobs said.
“We’re looking forward to examining it, running some tests on it, really finding out and going back to our elders and getting the history of it to where we can teach the truth to our people and know that we’ve got concrete evidence to stand on,” he added.
This is an important discovery because it shows that the tribe was there long before the colonists came in the 16th century.
This, however, isn’t the first canoe to be found in the the alligator-infested waterways in southeastern North Carolina.
Those living in the Carolinas who are interested in the artifacts of Queen’s Anne Revenge, as well as of the canoes, can arrange a visit at the conservation lab where this new discovery will be treated before it is taken to the Waccamaw Siouan tribal grounds in Buckhead, NC.
For more on this incredible discovery go to the video below.
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