BELCHER, LA -- Excavation efforts have unearthed a large, prehistoric Indian canoe along the Red River in north Caddo Parish.

One archaeologist said the almost 34-foot-long dugout canoe, described it in very good condition even though one side is missing. The canoe, weighing an estimated 1,000 pounds, could be the largest ever found intact in North America. 

Excavation, which was conducted near the town of Belcher, was completed this morning and crews then began the process of bringing the canoe up the river embankment.

The dugout canoe will be taken to Texas A&M University, where preservation efforts could take one to two years. Once that is done, the boat will be on display.

The canoe is believed to be 800 to 1,000 years old, an archaeologist at the site said. It was believed used by Caddo Indians who settled along the Red River and its tributaries.

It was found earlier this spring by a woman looking for artifacts along the banks of the river. She was among those at the site on Wednesday.

A Caddo Indian dugout canoe, which is smaller than the one excavated on Wednesday, was found along the Red River in the 1980s. That cypress dugout, which is believed to have been crafted between 1005 and 1065, was preserved and is on exhibit at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport.


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