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 ?
Dorset people were no match for bow-and-arrow-equipped members of large, well-organized Thule communities capable of hunting walruses and large whales, Fitzhugh holds.
No evidence exists that Dorset people uprooted entire villages or retreated to less desirable locations near the end of their run, he says.
While Dorset people lived in the Canadian Arctic, the region around the Bering Strait and northern A1aska witnessed a separate sequence of cultural developments that produced the Thule culture.
Still very much a hunting society, the Dorset people lived mainly off sea mammals such as seals, narwhals, and walrus.
Finally, an even more sophisticated culture displaced the Dorset people.
Researchers have also examined how climate affected the Saqqaq and Dorset peoples.
The first volume spanned centuries of conflict before the birth of our peaceful dominion to the crucible of the Great War: "From early skirmishes between Vikings and Dorset peoples .
Bill Twatio chronicles the military history of Canada from the first skirmishes between the Vikings and the Dorset peoples, through to the final fall of New France.