Uncovered by a group of teens in 1965, Weymouth’s mishoon, or dugout canoe, was found partially buried in the shoreline at Great Pond during a drought. The canoe was carved from a white pine log and measures approximately 11 feet long and two feet wide. Carbon testing dates the artifact back to as early as the mid-1400s.
The recovered mishoon is thought to have belonged to a local Native American tribe from the Blue Hills. Tribe members would return to Great Pond in the spring, using the pond as a launch site to traverse Weymouth’s waterways. Before returning to the Blue Hills in the winter, it was not uncommon for fishermen to bury mishoons in the shallow parts of ponds, keeping the canoes safe until next spring.
In 1965, polyethylene glycol (PEG) was used to preserve the canoe after it was unearthed and dried out. PEG has been used worldwide on objects that have been salvaged from underwater, including the Viking warship Vasa in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2014, the Town provided $9,185 in Community Preservation funds to stabilize the artifact, repairing cracks and constructing an argon gas container to protect against mold, dryness, humidity, and insects. Argon gas is currently used by the National Archives in Washington, D.C. to preserve the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence.