Dorset Culture

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Archaeological excavation was initiated to determine whether any other group such as the succeeding Dorset People (ca.
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.
It examines cultural contact after 1000 AD, considering especially Norse, Dorset people (palaeo-Eskimo) and Thule (ancestral Inuit)--in a clear and specific discussion of the archaeological evidence for successive encounters and their nature.
Still very much a hunting society, the Dorset people lived mainly off sea mammals such as seals, narwhals, and walrus.
In many areas of the Arctic, Dorset people appear to have been less residentially mobile and more logistically organized than were the Pre-Dorset (e.g., Maxwell, 1985; McGhee, 1996).
While the material culture of the Dorset people is well known from most parts of the Eastern Arctic, little is known of the people themselves.
The three authors (Gullv, McGhee, and Plumet) who address this issue all suggest that Dorset people did indeed encounter early Thule immigrants.
The following chapter, "Lost Visions," is a thoughtful discussion of perhaps the most evocative aspect of the archaeological record left behind by the Palaeo-Eskimos, especially by the Dorset people: the "art" objects that they produced.
Manitoba Heritage Council plaques commemorate the presence of Pre-Dorset and Dorset peoples who lived in this area from 3000 to 1000 BC.
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 ...