A historic canoe was found in a wild river in South Carolina. How did you get there?


Everyone could hear the roar of the rapids as a small group of canoeers piloted the Chattooga River, enjoying the mountain scenery of the southern Appalachian Mountains along the South Carolina-Georgia border. was.

But as they approached the calm part of the river, something caught their eye. It was a strange piece of wood resting near the riverbank. After careful examination, boaters noticed that they found part of history: a weathered canoe full of signs of the past.

“I was thrilled to find it,” said Bettina George, one of the group members who took part in the trip late last fall.

This week, at a water level suitable for recovering the ship, a conservation group is preparing to pull an old canoe out of Chatuga and bring it to a place where it can be opened to the public.

People who have examined canoes, including archaeologists at the University of South Carolina, say boats can be 200 to 250 years old. With USC Chattooga Conservancy, A public interest organization that led the effort to save the canoe.

If the age of the canoe is confirmed by radiocarbon dating, it indicates one of the few times an old canoe was found along a federal-designated chatuga. Wild scenic river In the mountains northwest of Anderson.

Most ancient canoes found in South Carolina were found in the low country, said state underwater archaeologist James Spirek.

“In the mountains of the river, they are a little unusual,” he said. “It’s interesting to find people using canoes in some of these wild rivers.”

Found under Sandifford between two major torrents along the Chattooga River in Oconee County, South Carolina, the canoe has some similarities to the 1740s boats found on the river 17 years ago.

Approximately two feet wide, the latest discoveries are very narrow and could have been used to ferry early settlers and Native Americans across Chattooga instead of running torrents like today’s boats. There is.

However, the latest discovery is Discovered in 2004 And it’s more crude in its structure, Spirek said. Archaeologist at the University of South Carolina The person who saw the canoe.

An iron hatchet or ax was used to hollow out a canoe. This was most likely built after the Europeans arrived in the southeast, said mountain conservationists Spirek and Buzz Williams, who helped pull the boat from Chatuga. According to Williams, a nail was also found at one end of the canoe.

“We know it’s historic,” Spirek said. “The tool mark is clearly visible.”

The key question is whether the canoe was built by early colonial settlers or by Native Americans. Centuries ago, the area was inhabited by the Cherokees, Native Americans who developed villages not far from the river.

Boaters found a canoe in a quiet location far from the headwaters of the river last fall, but Spilek said: I’m sure it’s not the original place. “

The Chattooga River, located in the northwestern corner of South Carolina and northeastern Georgia, is a well-known destination for rapid rafting due to its rapids. In the 1970s The movie “Deliverance” It was taken.

Williams, the founder of Chattooga Conservancy, said he was pleased with the community’s discoveries and support for preserving them.

He organized a group of about 10 volunteers to pull the canoe out of the river on Tuesday and worked carefully to prevent the canoe from being damaged. They used homemade cradle and straps to secure the boat before moving it to the wooded riverbanks on the South Carolina side.

The next step is tedious. Volunteers need to pull the boat up a steep mountain slope, then down the bank and float it to Georgia through a calm river. The effort is set to begin next week.

Once in Georgia, Williams said it would be easier to remove the boat from the Chatuga River corridor for storage and public exhibition. Volunteers are working with the USC and the US Forest Office on the removal of canoes.

Williams said he talked about canoeing with museums in South Carolina and Georgia, as well as the equipment of the Long Creek community along the river in South Carolina.

“This is a huge problem from an educational and learning perspective on the people who lived here before we lived,” Williams said in a recent study. “We really enjoy the fact that many locals in our community have participated in this effort to save the canoe.”

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