The Florida drought continues, the lakes keep shrinking and the ancient canoes keep appearing. Last November Toni Wallace from the FPAN -NE Center and Donna Ruhl from the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) recorded a canoe in Putnam County (see blog of 11/30/11). Since then several more recently exposed canoes have been brought to the attention of the site team. Now this is really a two edged sword. The FPAN Site Team loves to go out to a canoe site to record as many canoes as possible to increase the data base on Florida's ancient canoes. But the downside is that exposed canoes quickly deteriorate when not protected by lake water. Preservation is expensive and there are not enough repositories for large artifacts like an ancient canoe. Which only leaves the option of recording the canoe and hoping for rain to refill the lake.
|Little Lake Johnson at Gold Head Branch State Park|
Early in 2012, the Center received a call from the park staff at the Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone Heights, Clay County. Little Lake Johnson in the park had shrunk to two small shallow puddles killing a lot of the fish and exposing a canoe. So Toni Wallace grabbed her camera, measuring tape, water-proof boots and Florida Master Site File forms and headed for the park. Although Donna was not able to accompany her this time, she forwarded a museum canoe form and requested a wood sample be sent to the Museum to be radio carbon dated and analyzed for wood species.
|Toni Wallace, Site Specialist, FPAN - NE|
|Brenna Van Ness, Acting Park Manager|
|Stern of Canoe|
|Bow of Canoe|
|Deteriorated Middle Portion of Canoe|
But the Little Lake Johnson Canoe has now been recorded on the Florida Master Site file, #8CL01533, along with maps, a report, site drawing, photographs and a FLMNH canoe form. The wood sample was mailed to the Museum. Soon we should have another entry in the inventory of ancient Florida canoes with the radio carbon date obtained and wood species identified. But there is one last piece of good news. The recent rain has partially refilled Little Lake Johnson almost completely covering our ancient canoe. Keep your fingers crossed for continued good rains in the area. And stay tuned for additional field adventures recording Florida's ancient sites in the Florida Master Site File.