Dorset Culture – Paleo Eskimo Culture of Canada before Inuits 500 BC – 1500 AD

The Dorset Culture developed around the north coastal regions of Canada and Greenland.  This culture started in 500 BC and remained in existence till 1500 AD. It is believed that this culture declined because of conflicts with Thule people and Global Warming due to Medieval Warm Period.

Discovery

In 1925, Diamond Jenness first discovered certain artifacts near Cape Dorset, Nunavut which were not having Inuit descent so it was assumed that a culture flourished before the Thule culture near the northern coastal regions of Canada.

Dorset Map, Greenland, Around 100 AD

Sadlermiut People – Last Dorset people

Last traces of Dorset people were found in the Sadlermiut people, who survived till 1902. It believed that these people are direct descendants of Dorset people.  DNA mapping and blood samples have also indicated the same conclusion. These people extinct after the European contact and spread of infectious disease.

War between Thule and Dorset people

It is believed that the Dorset people were displaced from their location and heavily killed by Thule people who were ancestors of modern day Inuit people. The Thule people came from Siberia and were having extraordinary warfare skills. According to Inuit legends the Dorset people were bigger and stronger still they were badly beaten by Thule people as the “Giants Were Easily Scared Off”.

Diet and Weapon

Dorset people were different from their ancestors as they moved towards the coastal areas. These people were very less dependent on land hunting. The pre Dorset people used to kill caribou and polar bear by bow and arrow. The Dorset people used to kill sea animals like seal, walrus and narwhals with harpoons.

Artifacts

Dorset Masks - Made in Late Dorset Period

The Dorset people used to make Striking Masks and Miniature figures. The figures were having features that were quite similar to Siberian and Mongol art, indicating that their ancestors were from Asia. These people were also known for triangular end-blades, soapstone lamps, and burins. There was considerable difference between artifacts of Newfoundland and Greenland.

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