Early Thule Winter Houses: An Archaeoentomological Analysis

Frédéric Dussault, Allison Bain and Genevieve LeMoine


This paper presents the results of archaeoentomological analyses of soil samples from early Thule (ca. AD 1200–1400) winter-house remains at Cape Grinnell and Qaqaitsut, Northwest Greenland. Excavated over the summers of 2008 and 2009 by the Inglefield Land Archaeological Project (ILAP), four houses yielded 467 ectoparasites, mostly human lice, unevenly distributed across the identified areas of the structures. A recurring pattern of distribution was found in three of the houses and is interpreted as the result of delousing practices. Using historical explorer accounts, Inughuit oral tradition, and archaeoentomological evidence we investigate the potential for studying hygiene practices on Inuit sites.

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