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 ?
In 1932, Diamond Jenness reinterpreted the Fleur de Lys site as relating to the Dorset, a Paleoeskimo culture, which he had recently identified in the high Arctic.
These lacunae aside, the importance of this compilation is its comprehensive reporting on two decades of intensive study of Indian and Paleoeskimo adaptations to a rich Subarctic environment.
1979 Possible Evidence of Domestic Dog in a Paleoeskimo Context dans Arctic, 32(3):263-265.
The fact that no sleds attributable to Paleoeskimo culture were recorded is consistent with the generally held belief that dogs and sleds were not an important part of Paleoeskimo transportation systems.
1981 The Lagoon Site (OjRI-3): Implications for Paleoeskimo Interactions, National Museum of Man, Archaeological Survey of Canada Mercury, Series Paper No.
Paleoeskimo populations on western Victoria Island reached maximum levels in Early Pre-Dorset time and declined abruptly shortly after 3800 [sup.
In addition, on the lower beaches, we documented 482 Paleoeskimo dwelling features spanning about 3500 years (4200-800 (14) C years BP).
Surveys on the Kent Peninsula and King William Island in the central Canadian Arctic in 2006 documented 546 Paleoeskimo dwelling features spanning about 3800 years (4500-800 [.
By the third chapter, Harp's growing reputation is based not only on his good character, but also on the fruitful archaeology of Port aux Choix, where he uncovered thousands of Paleoeskimo artefacts, several houses, and a Paleoeskimo child burial.
On the site are 12 visible cultural features, which overlay rich Paleoeskimo midden deposits.
In contrast, the archaeological record of preceding Paleoeskimo peoples indicates that dogs were sparse at most, and probably locally absent for substantial periods.