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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The extended periods of daylight and darkness that characterize Arctic and Antarctic regions make them unique places on earth. At a location 250km north of the Arctic Circle, for example, polar night can last for upwards of 30 days during the winter months. These periods of darkness become increasingly longer as one moves to higher latitudes. It is therefore surprising that comparatively little research has explored how historic Inuit societies and their predecessors adapted to the challenges posed by these extremesThis is especially pertinent given that winter was a time for manufacturing, repairing, and maintaining hide clothing and a plethora of tools used for animal harvesting activities. Recent computer simulations of illumination levels within pre-contact Inuit dwellings demonstrate that lighting may have been strategically used to make interior spaces appear larger, to enhance the metaphorical associations of dwellings with sea mammals, and to facilitate the completion of complex tasks.

Keywords: Arctic Circle, Antarctic, Inuit, shadow, artificial light, domestic space, computer simulation, task performance

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