Cahokia Mounds has added a new permanent exhibit to its museum.
The centerpiece of the new “Wetlands and Waterways: the Key to Cahokia” exhibit is a canoe found on a sandbar in the St. Francis River in Arkansas. The Illinois State Archaeological Society bought it and donated to the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
Assistant site manager Bill Iseminger says it’s in great condition considering the age estimated by carbon dating.
“The ranges are from 1310 to 1450, so probably in the late 1300s sometimes, so it’s around 700 years old or so,” Iseminger said.
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The canoe spent three years in a solution of polyethylene glycol and another two years drying out to preserve it.
Iseminger says canoes of this type were likely used by Native Americans of Middle Mississippian culture which populated Cahokia.
The exhibit also features a 52-foot-long mural depicting the floodplain of the Mississippi River.
Iseminger says this is the first new permanent exhibit at the site since its museum opened in 1989.