Kaj Birket-Smith

Birket-Smith, Kaj


Born Jan. 20, 1893, in Copenhagen. Danish ethnographer and archaeologist; investigated the culture and life-style of the Eskimos and Indians of the American North. Became professor at the University of Copenhagen in 1945.

In 1918, Birket-Smith conducted ethnographical work in Greenland; from 1921 to 1923 he participated in a Danish expedition to the arctic region of North America; and in 1933 he conducted ethnographical and archaeological research in Alaska. Birket-Smith’s theoretical views approach diffusionism.


The Caribou Eskimos. Copenhagen, 1929.
The Eskimos. London, 1936.
The Chugach Eskimo. Copenhagen, 1953.
References in periodicals archive ?
These include polymaths Alexander von Humboldt (1814) and Joseph Needham (1971, 1985), geographer Carl Sauer and a lineage of his students (Sauer 1952, Rowntree 1996, Gade 2004), anthropologist Kaj Birket-Smith (1967), and respected archaeologists such as Roger Green (1998), and Gordon Ekholm (1953, 1955, 1964).
(4.) Kaj Birket-Smith, The Caribou Eskimos: Material and Social Life and Their Cultural Position, Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition, Vol.
As the last person in a unique line of Danish Arctic scholars, Meldgaard succeeded through his work in continuing a research tradition that includes Therkel Mathiassen (1892-1967), Kaj Birket-Smith (1893-1977), Erik Holtved (1899-1981), Helge Larsen (1905-84), and Eigil Knuth (1903-96).
References to North American Indians are made in letters, especially in his communications with ethnographer Kaj Birket-Smith in Copenhagen.
There she met Kaj Birket-Smith, as well as Therkel Mathiassen, who invited her to accompany him to Greenland and help with his archaeological excavations.
Kaj Birket-Smith had arranged for an archaeological study at Prince William Sound, Alaska, in the summer of 1930.