Dorset Culture

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Dorset Culture


an ancient Eskimo culture (from the beginning of the first millennium B.C. to the beginning of the second millennium A.D.) discovered in 1925 on Cape Dorset, Baffin Island. The Dorset culture was widespread in far northeastern Canada, the Canadian arctic archipelago, and western and northeastern Greenland. It is characterized by small swiveled harpoon heads with a rectangular shaft socket, two barbs on the side or one barb in the middle, and small holes for a line; harpoons and needles; a predominance of chipped-stone implements over polished; stone lamps; and bone, ivory, and wood sculpture with carved linear decoration. The tribes of the Dorset culture hunted seal, walrus, and caribou. Five periods in the culture’s development have been established; the last period displays traits of the Eskimo Thule culture and the neighboring Indian tribes. The Dorset and Thule cultures in northeastern Canada and Greenland coexisted between A.D. 800 and 1200, after which the Dorset culture was replaced by the Thule culture.


Meldgaard, J. “Dorset kulturen. Den Dansk-Amerikanske ekspedition til Arktisk Canada.” Kuml, 1955.
Bandi, H. G. Urgeschichte der Eskimo. Stuttgart, 1965.


References in periodicals archive ?
Neither the Thule nor the earlier Arctic colonists, who created tools and figurines typical of what's called Dorset culture by around 3,000 years ago, display a genetic connection to current Native American groups living south of the Arctic, the scientists report in the Aug.
Similarly, the nondescript smelted copper artefact found in a Dorset culture longhouse at the Pointe aux Belougas site in Ungava (Plumet 1985: 189, 195) could very well have been introduced to the site by the Thule.
The Goddard site in Maine produced a late eleventh-century Norse coin and a Dorset culture burin-like tool that had been reworked into a scraper (Bourque & Cox 1981: 20-24).
The first is that a trait must be diagnostic enough that it could only have shown up in Dorset culture due to European contact and not from in situ development or from contact with some other native North American society.
Sutherland identifies two rationales by which finds of yarn from Dorset culture sites can be considered evidence of contact with the Norse: 'Spinning was not a part of the technology of northern aboriginal peoples' (Sutherland 2000b: 241), and very similar yarn spun from Arctic hare fur has also been found at a thirteenth- to fourteenth-century Norse site in Greenland (Sutherland 2000a: 161).
By about 500 BC, the Dorset culture had developed from the first inhabitants.
One of the main topics addressed by the book is the puzzling lack of evidence for a localised transition from the Saqqaq to the Dorset culture (p.
The Stone Age of Qeqertarsuup Tunua (Disko Bugt): a regional analysis of the Saqqaq and Dorset cultures of Central West Greenland (Meddelelser om Gronland--Man & Society 32).
However it happened, the Dorset culture disappears from the archaeological record (Park 1993).
We know that the Thule replaced in some fashion the previous occupants of the region - the people of the long-lived Dorset culture.
Similarly, the bearers of the Saqqaq and Dorset cultures, predating the historical Thule Eskimo, probably only produced fire using pyrite.