Missing the Boat: Ancient Dugout Canoes in the Mississippi-Missouri Watershed

AIA Lecture by Dr. Peter Wood

Archaeological Institute of America

Dickinson College is home to the South Pennsylvania Society chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America, and with the support of the AIA, will host a lecture in fall 2019.

The lecture will begin at 6:30pm.
The lecture is free and open to the public.

2019-20 Lecture Schedule:


Tuesday, October 1, 2019 - Dickinson College, Denny Hall 317

"Missing the Boat:  Ancient Dugout Canoes in the Mississippi-Missouri Watershed"
Lecturer:  Dr. Peter H. Wood
Emeritus Professor of History at Duke University

When archaeologists discuss the great Missippian site at Cahokia near East St. Louis, a crucial piece of the puzzle still seems to be missing.  They know much about the great mound-building center, and about the trade goods and tribute that flowed to it.  But they rarely talk about how those objects moved great distances.  So far, we have never recovered a huge ancient wooden canoe from the Missippi's riverbed.  (Indeed, we can't even imagine that immense trees from which such dugouts were made a thousand years ago!)  But indirect evidence from other places and disciplines strongly points to the existence and importance of such vesels.

This slide talk by an Anerican historian explores when these boats appeared, how long they were in use, why they vanished, and why we know so little about them.