Florida man finds dugout canoe while surveying damage left by Hurricane Irma

A  Central Florida man has made what appears to be an historic find.

While checking out what was left behind after Hurricane Irma blew through the state, Randy "Shots" Lathrop said he spotted a dugout canoe on the banks of Indian River, near State Road 528 in Cocoa. He posted the pictures of the 15-foot cypress canoe on Facebook the day after the storm, and they have already been shared over 80,000 times.

"I was walking down the road, taking photographs like I normally do in the mornings, and the road was strewn with debris, front loaders were starting to clear the road," Lathrop said.  "It was a scramble to try to make sure and secure it."

Lahtrop notified the Florida State Department of Historical Resources which sent an archaeologist out to survey the site.  State historic officials are now awaiting radiocarbon-dating to reveal the boat's actual age.  The Florida Museum of Natural History says these types canoes can range from a couple of centuries old to more than 6,000 years old.

"It does have some very unique features. There are some iron nails in the object. If I had to venture, I guess a few other people might say it is from the 1800s," he said.  "We aren't sure until the experts have the ability to look at it. We're excited to learn where it came from."

It's not unusual for hurricanes to unearth historic artifacts, due of wind gusts, changing tides and flooding.   In October of last year, Civil War-era cannonballs were found in the sand at Folly Beach, S.C.   The first shots of the Civil War were fired at nearby Fort Sumter in 1861.