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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.
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