Thule Culture

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Thule Culture


an Eskimo culture that existed between A.D. 900 and 1700 along both shores of the Bering Strait and the arctic coastline, as well as on the Canadian islands and, from the 11th century, in Greenland. The culture was named after Thule, a settlement in Greenland.

The tribes of the Thule culture hunted whale, seal, walrus, and land animals. Characteristic Thule findings include whaling harpoons and flat toggle-type harpoon heads made of bone; linear designs were used in decorations. In the central part of the American arctic region, the eastern Thule culture, as it is called, is distinguished by circular dwellings made of stone and whalebone, the use of harnessed dog teams, stone lamps, snow knives, and figurines representing people, animals, and waterfowl. In the Bering Strait region, what is known as the western Thule culture is characterized by dwellings made of driftwood, weapons, and sinkers.


Bandi, H. G. Urgeschichte der Eskimo. Stuttgart, 1965.
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Ancient Thule people showed no genetic relationship to 34 later Scandinavians from southern Greenland.
The team also used DNA gathered from relics found at the now-abandoned settlements of the Thule people (the likely ancestors of the Inuit) on Somerset Island on the western side of Prince Regent Inlet.
Looking at developments over the almost three decades since the last major conference on the Thule people, archaeologists and ethnohistorians address topics including the origins of the Thule culture; Thule settlement patterns and populations; the archaeology of specific Thule sites and the end of Thule culture and the transition into the modern period.
There, I visited lots of archaeological sites belonging to the Thule people.
The Thule people hunted at sea, and took animals as large as bowhead whales.
Rachel Qitsualik's "Skraeling" may well be the best Inuit writing to date with its artfully defamiliarizing point of view, which realizes the baffling time when the Thule peoples pushing out of Alaska encounter the Tunit (Dorset) fleeing a violent encounter with the recently arrived Vikings.