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from the trenches
Something in the Water Volume 60 Number 6, November/December 2007
by Samir S. Patel

New York Harbor is making people do strange things these days. This past July, a 41-foot-long reed boat called Abora 3 set sail from New York, bound for Spain in a quixotic attempt to show that prehistoric people crossed the Atlantic 14,000 years ago. The 12-person crew was led by Dominique Gorlitz, a German botanist with neither a sailing license nor formal archaeological training, who says he has evidence that Stone Age people regularly made the 3,500-mile crossing. Although the boat, made of Bolivian reeds and based on a 6,000-year-old drawing found in northeastern Africa, doesn't have much archaeological merit, so far, so good. At press time, Abora 3 was 1,500 miles into the Atlantic.

About two weeks after Abora 3 set sail, Brooklyn performance artist Duke Riley set off a security scare by sidling up to the massive cruise ship Queen Mary 2 in a homemade re-creation of the first submarine, Turtle, a Revolutionary War-era wooden egg ("Turtle Dives Again," May/June 2005). Riley was cited for unsafe boating and breaching the ship's security zone. It's probably a good thing the police picked him up--after being towed out by friends in an inflatable raft, he had no way to get back to shore.

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© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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