For the second time in a year, a team of divers emerged on Thursday from Lake Mendota toting a remarkable piece of history.
Nestled in a corrugated plastic bed and floating on two rafts was a 3,000-year-old canoe — the oldest canoe to be discovered in the entire Great Lakes region by 1,000 years, Wisconsin Historical Society archaeologists said.
The archaeologist and scuba diver who discov-ered it, Tamara Thomsen, also found a 1,200-year-old canoe last year in the same lake, less than 100 yards away. A dive team carefully brought it to shore in November, prompting national and international news coverage.
In both cases, Thomsen wasn’t out searching for artifacts. She’d been scuba diving for fun when she saw the first canoe last year. Then, in May, she was teaching a diving class when she spotted the second canoe poking out from the lake sediment.
“Not a joke: I found another dugout canoe,” Thomsen texted her boss, state archaeologist James Skibo. “That would be a pretty good joke,” he re-sponded.
The next shock came when carbon dating results came back on a sliver of the wood: it was from about 1000 B.C. The archaeologists, operating out of the Wisconsin Historical Society, had carbon-dating experts run the report three times to be sure.—APP