The Prehistory of Inuit in Northeast Greenland

Mikkel Sørensen and Hans Christian Gulløv

Abstract

This article discusses recent archaeology fieldwork campaigns in Northeast Greenland, with a focus on investigating prehistoric Inuit remains. The paper endeavors to increase an understanding of the history of the prehistoric occupation of this High Arctic region, prehistoric groups’ responses to the distinct cooling throughout “the Little Ice Age” (sixteenth through nineteenth century), and their disappearance from the region. The article presents a critical review of earlier archaeological work and develops a relative chronology for the region. The fate of the Northeast Greenland Inuit is discussed with reference to subsistence and cultural constraints, concluding that a main reason for the discontinuity of human history in the region has to do with the geography that creates an isolating, island-like affect, factors causing severe demographic problems to the Inuit population through time.

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