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The Discovery Of The Dufuna Canoe, Africa’s Oldest Boat

 

Africa’s oldest known boat, the Dufuna canoe was discovered in Dufuna village, Yobe state, by a Fulani Herdsman in May 1987, while he dug a well. Since the Dufuna canoe was discovered, archaeologists have been in a frenzy about it.


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The canoe which was excavated by a combined team of Nigerian and German archaeologists in 1994 at Dufuna, has continued to amaze them, for the simple reason that it has changed the course of history.

Various radio-carbon tests were conducted in laboratories of reputable universities in Europe and America and results revealed that the canoe is over 8,000 years old, thus making it the oldest in Africa and 3rd oldest in the world. The discovery of the canoe has completely changed accepted theories of the history and sophistication of marine technology in Africa.

Dufuna: A Small Village with Mighty Artifact

Dufuna is a village along the Komodugu Gana river in the Fune local government area of Yobe State. The boat was dug out from a depth of five meters beneath the earth’s surface and measured 8.4 meters in length, 0.5 meters wide and about 5 cm thick varying at certain parts of the surface. The age of the boat has been put at about 8000 years old (6000 BC), thus, becoming the oldest boat in Africa and the third oldest on earth.


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Chips from the ancient canoe were subjected to Carbon 14 (C-14) dating which placed the age of the boat at 7264 ± 55 bp (KN-4683) and 7670 ± 110 bp (KI-3587) (uncalibrated) approximating to 8000 years; measuring 8.4m in length, 0.5m in width and about 5cm thickness.

About the Boat

The Dufuna canoe was likely created between 6556/6388 cal BCE and 6164/6005 cal BCE. The Dufuna canoe is the earliest known boat in Africa and is among the earliest known boats in the world. The Dufuna canoe was likely one among other canoes that were created in a longstanding boat-making tradition.

The canoe belongs to the Late Stone Age period (Neolithic Age), when humans ceased to roam the face of the earth hunting to become herdsmen and cultivators and in the process becoming modifiers of their environment, with complex social structures, in response to new problems and ways of dealing with situations.

But this is just part 1 of the article. Part two will furnish you with the significance of this discovery both at a national and global level as well as further efforts that are made to preserve this monumental artefact.

Sources: 

Wikipedia

Nigeria Galleria

Olatorera

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Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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