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Reed constructs authentic dugout canoe

Mathews native Russell Reed of Williamsburg, recently finished making an authentic dugout canoe based on the ones that were being made by Native Americans during the time of initial European contact.

Using traditional, hand-made stone axes and adzes, along with the technique of burning parts of the surface, Reed hollowed out a pine tree he cut down on his grandmother’s property in Onemo in order to make a smaller version of the seaworthy canoes once used by tribes that were native to Eastern Virginia.

Reed has both a personal and professional interest in primitive technologies. As an anthropologist and assistant site supervisor for the Jamestown Settlement Museum’s Paspahegh Town Site in James City County, he wanted to bring a new level of authenticity to the primitive technologies being demonstrated by workers for museum visitors.

But beyond that, his father’s family from Louisiana is native, so he’s always had an interest in native peoples and traditional practices. While i...

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