3D Laser Scanning Services Reveal Hidden Stories About 1,200-Year-Old Canoe

March 2022 was the first time Lennon Rodgers ventured into Wisconsin’s State Archive Preservation Facility. Unlike the archeology warehouse featured in the Wisconsin version, this is a space with lots of historic beer barrels and vintage Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. 

His mission was to help archeologists discover more about a 1,200-year-old canoe discovered in Lake Mendota in 2021

Studying the Canoe with 3D Laser Scanning Services

In partnership with archeologists in the Wisconsin Historical Society, Lennon Rodgers scanned the dugout using 3D laser scanning services and created 3D images to preserve the history of the boat. Researchers would use the boat to study craft as it undergoes preservation.

Rodgers and the team used every available resource, including 3D scanning services, to learn as much as possible about the vessel. The boat was discovered approximately 27 feet underneath the water, just a few yards offshore. 

Worried that the dugout would worsen, the archeologists teamed up to rescue underwater archeologists and drivers who braved to retrieve the canoe in November. Drivers used a water jet to release the boat from the clay and attached it to airbags before lifting it and guiding it to shore. 

Studies have revealed that this is one of a few dozens of fragile vessels discovered in Wisconsin. The preliminary examination of the canoe revealed a few important facts about it. 

The archeologists used Carbon-14 dating to discover that the effigy mound builders created the canoe about a millennium ago. 

A hole in the vessel and its position far offshore suggested that it had sunk. Other canoes discovered near shore were buried under water to serve as storage during winter. 

The archeologists also found seven net sinkers on the canoe, suggesting that it was a work vessel used by fishermen.

Researchers believe that the boat can reveal much more about its origin and who created it. But a direct study of the vessel has paused for a while as it undergoes preservation. 

With 3D laser scanning services and high-resolution technologies, the Wisconsin Historical Society hopes to discover more details about the canoe. 

The 3D scanning technology has helped 3D laser scan many unusual objects, including valuable artwork, vehicle components, and snowmobile engines. 

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