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date: 06 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The Inughuit of northwestern Greenland are the most northerly indigenous people in the world. They have long been of interest to scholars and the general public due to their evident isolation when first contacted by Europeans in 1818, their loss of key hunting technologies such as kayaks and bows and arrows before contact, their extensive use of meteoric iron, and their important role in exploration of the far north. This chapter summarizes the archaeological record from the thirteenth century, when Thule migrants first arrived in the region, through the historic period. The key period of emerging Inughuit culture, between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, has left few archaeological remains. Work by the Inglefield Land Archaeology Project and studies in ethnohistory and paleoclimatology suggest that many factors, including epidemics and environmental changes associated with the Little Ice Age, led to the distinctive Inughuit culture described by explorers in the nineteenth century.

Keywords: Inughuit, Thule, prehistory, ethnohistory, Smith Sound, Greenland, Iita

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