Facts about the Pesse Canoe – the oldest boat in the World

Way before the development of modern transportations, people explored faraway lands on crafted but risky ships.

The power of deep oceans randomly picked victims and rarely spared them from a destruction.

However, those brave risk-takers made the constant development of ships possible. People learned from their mistakes, and they still do.

Everything should start from one point, right! From the frail boards to stable boats, and then, from wind-powered sailing-ships to the gas-eating giants. The Pesse Canoe can also be placed in that generation of developments. But we have to place it somewhere at the beginning of our current timetable due to its age.

Here are the 10 Facts about the Pesse Canoe:

  1. The Pesse Canoe is the oldest known boat in the world.

Our ancient past is not fully discovered. Therefore, it is quite possible there are even older boats out there. Nevertheless, Pesse Canoe tops the other ancient boats for now.

  1. Carbon dating test traced its origin back to the early Mesolithic period.

More specifically its origin estimated to be somewhere between 8040 BCE and 7510 BCE. That was the period of hunter-gatherers and the time when humans started using sharper and finer stone tools, such as knives, arrowheads, axes, etc…

  1. The boat was called “Pesse” because it was found in the Pesse village of Netherlands.

It was found during the construction of Dutch A28 Motorway in 1955.

  1. The crane operator thought that he uncovered a tree trunk.

But, the local farmer Hendrik Wanders inspected it closely and noticed that it was more than a remnant of an old tree.

  1. The Pesse Canoe was given to the University of Groningen to further examination.

That was where its ancient past and museum worth value was discovered. In order to prevent it from deteriorating, the University freeze-dried it.

  1. Currently, it is showcased in the Drents Museum, which locates close to the discovery site.

So, if you want to see it in real life, you have to pack your backpack and head over to the Netherlands.

  1. The Pesse Canoe is about 9.8 ft (3 m) long and 1.5 ft (44 cm) wide.

It is definitely a small boat. Personally, I wouldn’t feel safe floating around on it in an open sea. Originally, it may have been used to cross lakes or rivers.

  1. Some archaeologists do not think it is a boat.

Some likened it to animal feeder. However, during that period, humans did not have domesticated animals. So, such a claim was refuted instantly.

A Danish expert questioned whether such a small wooden structure would float in a sea without losing its stability. In order to test it, an archeologist Jaap Bueker constructed a replica of the boat, and canoeist successfully passed a distance by paddling on it.

  1. It was made of Scots pine.

It was formed by carving a single Scots pine log. A canoe in that type is usually known as dugout canoe. And, those canoes were widely used by some of the ancient civilizations.

  1. Interestingly, the same type of the canoe was found thousands of mile away in Africa.

Herdsman found the second oldest known boat in the surrounding area of Dufuna village in Nigeria. Carbon dating test revealed its age to be over 8000 years. That means that it was made about 2000 years after the Pesse Canoe.

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
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