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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the question of whether the people of the Thule culture met and interacted with people of the Dorset culture when they ventured eastward from Alaska. Most archaeologists have long believed that such a meeting took place and that the Dorset either assimilated into Thule communities and quickly adopted their way of life or, in order to avoid the Thule newcomers, retreated to ecologically marginal areas where they were unable to survive for long. However, researchers haven’t found any sites that provide even reasonably unambiguous proof of face-to-face contact, so our inferences have been based on very circumstantial types of evidence. This chapter argues that the very minimal evidence of acculturation actually derives from Thule salvage of Dorset sites and artifacts, and that all other evidence is consistent with the Dorset having disappeared prior to the earliest likely date of the Thule arrival.

Keywords: Dorset, Thule, culture contact, salvage, radiocarbon dating

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