Ancient Canoe Goes on Display at Weedon Island
Two meat cutters, Harry Koran and Ken Pachulski saw a piece of wood in the muck as they were searching for jewels around Weedon Island Preserve on the shoreline. It was in 2001 the pair found something other than the usually pottery pieces, bones and bottles.
What they found were the remnants of a forty foot canoe that was over a thousand years old. The native population of the Manasota culture lived in the area since 500 B.C used the canoe. The Cultural and Natural History Center on the Weedon Island Preserve put the piece on display Saturday, fourteen years after it was found.
It took a great deal of work to restore the canoe which could have been buried in peat muck for as many as ten centuries. The canoe was fragile and extensive exposure to the air could have destroyed it. Koran and Pachulski confirmed that the exposed wood was part of a boat and reburied it. It was not until 2003 that the two contacted Phyllis Kolianos, manager of the newly opened Weeden center with videos and photographic evidence of the discovery.
It took years for Kolianos to get archaeologists, and the correct permits to excavate the canoe. It was not until 2011 that efforts of excavation began. The canoe was cut into sections ten feet in length and placed in a polyethylene glycol bath to preserve it; it was left there for three years and took an additional year to dry.
The remains of the canoe are reassembled and being displayed in a cradle. The history is displayed on informational panels.