Archaeologists around the world are focused on a Wisconsin lake, where they continue to find artifacts that are thousands of years old.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has been working with Native Nations on "a significant archaeological site" that was discovered in 2021 when two ancient canoes were found submerged in Lake Mendota near Madison.

The canoes were recovered by divers, and it is estimated that one was 1,200 years old, and the other was 3,000 years old, but the latest discoveries are motivating Archaeologists to search for what they believe may be a submerged ancient village.

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Wisconsin Historical Society maritime archaeologists recovered a 3,000-year-old dugout canoe from Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sept. 22, 2022. Photo by Dean Witter - Wisconsin Historical Society
Wisconsin Historical Society maritime archaeologists recovered a 3,000-year-old dugout canoe from Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sept. 22, 2022. Photo by Dean Witter - Wisconsin Historical Society
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Researchers have identified up to 11 unique dugout canoes, one of which has been carbon dated as 4,500 years old, making it the oldest canoe ever found in the Great Lakes Region, it was made of elm around 2500 BC. The most recent of the canoes is about 800 years old and is made of red oak.

Dr. Amy Rosebrough, State Archaeologist for the Wisconsin Historical Society says, "What we thought at first was an isolated discovery in Lake Mendota has evolved into a significant archaeological site".

2021 Event - 1,200 year old canoe getting recovered from Lake Mendota
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The prehistoric canoes have been found along 800 feet of ancient shoreline that is now submerged after thousands of years of environmental shifts. Small samples have been taken from the canoes for carbon dating and additional research.

Work will continue on the site and several anomalies have been targeted for further research, the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist is also involved in the project, they will be using a sonar boat later this year to map the lake bed.

Dean Witter - Wisconsin Historical Society
Dean Witter - Wisconsin Historical Society
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The Wisconsin Historical Society says that they will no longer attempt to recover any of the additional discovered canoes due to their fragile condition.

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