|Early Man and the Ocean 2010
- Social significant of Ocean Voyages
Same sea -different approach. Dorset, Thule and Norse approach to marine resources and interaction in the Eastern Arctic 13th and 14th century AD.
Inge Bugge Knudsen. Culture historian, writer
In 13th and 14th century AD three different cultures shared the same hunting grounds in today’s North West Greenland. Late Dorset Eskimos had occupied the area since the 8th century AD while Thule Eskimos entered from the west during the 13th century. In between Norse farmers established settlements in Southern Greenland from where they sent hunting expeditions north to what they referred to as Nordrsetur. Marine resources was crucial for all of the three cultures and for some the actual motif for staying. Even if they hunted the same marine animals, like walrus and seal, their approach to the sea and its resources was different. The Dorset Eskimo hunters based their hunt from land and ice; the Norse hunters used wooden boats, not unlike what Nordic fishermen have used up to today. They also used nets and like Dorset they hunted from the shore. The Thule Eskimos had all ready specialized in hunting the large sea mammals when they migrated from Alaska and Northern Canada and the effectiveness and mobility provided by the use of kayaks and umiaqs made them the undisputable masters of the Greenlandic sea.
In what follows I will talk about how the two last Eskimo cultures inhabiting the eastern Arctic, Dorset and the Thule Eskimos (ancestors of today’s Inuit) together with Norse farmers and hunters from the European outpost in South Greenland approached the sea and the marine resources and how the different needs brought the cultures together. Lastly I will look at if the cultural contact had any impact on the cultures.