In late 2018, a fisherman was casting a line off the South Texas coast when he noticed a distinctive shape emerging from the water at low tide. He immediately notified the Texas Historical Commission’s Archeology Division, which dispatched staff the next day to identify and document the discovery.
It was determined that the 20-foot-long dugout canoe is made of pine. Radiocarbon dating indicated it could be more than a century old, likely built between 1805 and 1935. It is believed to be of Caucasian manufacture. Marine archeologists do not think it is a tribal canoe.
The archeological site itself is an enigma, as it seems to have attributes of a coastal settlement with a canoe resting within it. The THC hopes to continue documenting the site and working with neighboring landowners to examine archeological features that could be associated with the larger beach site.
The THC recently designated the dugout site as a State Archeological Landmark, the most protective state designation awarded to an archeological site.
The sensitivity of the dugout site is so great that even the identity of the specific region and participating volunteers and agencies are omitted in retelling this exciting discovery.