An 800-year-old Indian canoe discovered on Florida Rock property, now rests in the lobby of the Cerveny Conference Center and Camp Weed. A generous contribution to the Episcopal Diocese of Florida by Edward (Ted) Baker, the 10 and a half foot long pine canoe was carbon-dated to 1090 A.D. The ancient canoe was unearthed at a site near Grandin, Florida and is virtually intact, with charring inside, clearly evident from the original hollowing process.
“This canoe is in very good condition and we doubt there will be any problem,” say Elise LeCompte and Lee A. Newsom, archeologists with the University of Florida’s Department of Anthropology, which oversaw the preservation procedures.
For nearly a year following the canoe’s discovery in late 1989, the University soaked it in a wax and water bath to replace the hull’s proper water content and seal the wood to offset the effects of evaporation.
The canoe is a product of the Timucuan Indian people who flourished in north Florida until the 17th century when Spanish domination and European plagues decimated their population. “We are very thankful for Mr. Baker’s contribution,” said Joe Chamberlain, Camp Weed executive director. “It is very fitting that the authentic dugout canoe be placed at Camp Weed since the University of Florida and the National Park Service documented this site as a place where Hernando De Soto encountered Indigenous people here in 1539. I can imagine White Lake having several canoes just like this one moving across the water 800-years-ago.”
Camp Weed offers a special program about its archeological discovery to the public each year and will schedule a program for any group when requested.