Analysis of the Dugout Canoe

Analysisof the Dugout Canoe


Analysisof the dugout canoe

The dugout canoehas become a major artefact in recent times. The artefact hasdepicted the skills that early people had in art and design. Inaddition, the canoe provides an assessment to different culturesacross the world that managed to hollow logs and uses them as a meansof transport. However, the assessment will look a specific dugoutcanoe retrieved from Brier Island, Nova Scotia. As such, thediscourse will offer a description of the dugout canoe followed byevaluation of the canoe and then give a cultural analysis of thecanoe. In addition, the discourse will include a sketch of the canoeas seen from Maritime Museum. In this regards, the paper offer anevaluation of the dugout canoe as observed from Maritime Museum.


The “MaritimeMuseum of the Atlantic” provides a small description of the dugoutcanoe detailing its date of construction and measurements. Built in1876, the builder of the canoe is unknown as well as its place ofconstruction. The dugout canoe at the museum provides arepresentation of a vessel made from a gouged tree trunk. Inaddition, the canoe measures 3.7 meters by 71.1 centimeters with adepth of 66 centimeters. The descriptions found alongside the canoeshows that possibly the European designed the canoe, although thedescriptions do not indicate who built the canoe. Most studiesindicate most people across the world built dugouts, although NativeAmericans widely used the canoes than other people (Carter,Kenchington &amp Walker, 1982). Made from a single hollowed log ofpine, possibly an Eastern White Pine log with detachable crosswisepartitions, the natives used the canoe to hunt fish or for transport.On the other hand, the tool marks found curved in the dugout canoeshows that the canoe has been in excellent condition.

The dugout canoehas a V-shaped cross section with rough cuts and unmodified outersurfaces and ends. In addition, the canoe has a distinctive bow,modified in the V-shape, perhaps to navigate easily through waterwaves. The charred bits of wood visible in the interior of the canoeshows that the builder of the canoe used fire to hollow itsinteriors. However, the surfaces and lines of the canoe have beencleanly cut, but one notices broad tool marks in the exterior of thecanoe. The technique used to build the canoe seems simple especiallyfrom the interior of the canoe, but the V-shaped front of the canoeshows that the designers used a sophisticated carving and bendingmethod (Carter et al., 1982). The builders of the canoe hollowed outa dugout by burning with fire, which left a charred interior, butwith a mahogany touch.

Propelled bypaddles, the canoe has a flat-bottomed design, which shows that theusers of the canoe may have used it in shallow waters or marshyareas. Made from a single log, the canoe does not have writings apartfrom rough sketches and carvings on its exteriors and the hollowedinteriors with their charred surfaces. Based on its size, the Acadianpeople or the Indians probably used the canoe for transport orfishing as suggested earlier, but its resemblance to a bark canoesuggest that they might also have used the canoe to carry out trade.


Although thecanoe is not aesthetically excellent, it has excellent paddles andsurfaces. The sketches and surfaces of the canoe show the energy anddedicated design used to design and build the canoe. However, thepointed ends and slender edges of the canoe point to a classic finishof art thus, the canoe has its share of beauty. In addition, thecanoe is not sophisticated but its cutaway edges and surfaces showsome form of skill and artistic capacity (Carter et al., 1982). Asindicated in the museum, the builders of the canoe used pine i.e. alog or trunk of a pine tree. The carbon dating used to reveal thetime of construction suggest that the builders used fire to hollowout the canoe, then shaped and rounded the canoe using stone axes. Pine trees produce wood pulp and timber of high value thus, the useof pine in making the canoe suggest the builders of the canoe knewits durability and strength. In fact, the durability, density, andthe strength of the pine made the canoe resilient. In addition, theuse of pine allowed the canoe to cut through marshy areas, a thingother canoe, for example, bark canoes cannot accomplish.

Cultural analysis

The lack ofdrawings or writings on the surface of the canoe inhibits one’sability to deduce the cultural beliefs of the canoe builders.However, the method used and the sketches found in the canoe suggestthat the builders of the canoe were skillful in hollowing. Inaddition, the use of pine suggests that timber was a common productin the local economy. The people used the canoe probably as a meansof transport or to fish thus, they lived their lives from trade andfishing. These people regarded pine in high regard and had an aquaticheritage.


The canoe showssome advanced and cultural preferences, which perhaps suggest thatthe Indians did not build the canoe. However, charred interiors showthat the builders of the canoe used fire to hollow the canoe as wellas make the canoe waterproof. The canoe is a small one, whichsuggests that people did not use it for commercial purposes butrather for transport and fishing. The canoe has an extended bow witha flat-bottom, which made it light and capable of moving throughmarshy areas. The display of the canoe in the museum shows peoplefocus on learning the ways and lifestyles of early people as well astheir curiosity on the aesthetic quality of the canoe. Its charredsurfaces and shape suggest its owner’s connection to timber as wellto their marshy areas. However, the canoe’s presence at the museumstill provides a chance for people to delve into the lives of thepeople behind its construction.


As discussed,the dugout canoe presents skills and design that early people used.In fact, the canoe shows some of the skills that these peopleemployed especially in felling pine trees and hollowing them to makea means of transport. In addition, the observation at the Museumprovided a chance to engage in drawing and realize different detailsand contours involved in sketching a drawing.


Carter, J., Kenchington, T., &amp Walker, D. (1982). A dugoutlog‐canoe in Uniacke Lake,Nova Scotia, Canada.&nbspInternational Journal of NauticalArchaeology,11(3), 245-249.

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