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Lecture

Thule.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
Anthropology 2230F/G
Professor
Lisa Hodgetts

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Oct, 03, 2013 Thule -They are the earliest Inuit and we have to be careful to distinguish between the Thule culture versus the Thule tradition and they are broadly distinguished from the Arctic Small Tool Tradition (Inuit aka Neo-Eskimo) -There are marked breaks between Arctic cultures so distinct new groups could not have resulted from evolution from earlier peoples -Ca. 2500 BP there was the Old Bering Sea Culture and they were hunting whales for a living and this led to social changes and later this culture evolved into the Punuk and it was them that evolved to the Thule -Birnirk made it to Alaska as an earlier part of the OBS Culture and they became the Thule who travelled east into the Canadian Arctic and they may have entered an abandoned area or they could have met the Dorset OBS Culture: -They were in the Chuckchi Peninsula and St. Lawrence Island from 2200-1400 BP and they are characterized by highly decorated artifacts and they were very maritime focused -Their stone tools were mainly polished slate and not flake like before and they had pottery with small gravel temper (Norton people use plant fibre) to prevent shrinkage and breaking upon being fired (pottery is fired and ceramics are made of clay and they are not) -There were technological advances in mammal hunting like seal and walruses and here we see the first evidence for whaling which led to new harpoon technology (used blown up seal skins to track and drag the animals and we have found plugs and mouth pieces as evidence of this and they were called harpoon floats) -They used kayaks and umiaks with clear evidence for the umiak (translates as “woman’s boat”) which were larger and made of skin and they were used for transporting larger groups of people -They had oil lamps of baked clay (not soap stone here) and everything was decorated and this shows they had an advanced symbolic life and animals were a common decorative motif -They had large houses dug down into the earth with wood supporting the sod roof and there were bones all over in middens (these were increasingly large after Dorset times because of the increased amount of sea mammal hunting leading to more bones) and these show that the people were more sedentary and it points to what they were eating -This culture evolved into the Punuk in Chuckchi and Birnirk in NW Alaska and continued until 900 AD or until European contact, and these are related because they have a wide array of hunting equipment including toggle harpoons, bird darts, throwing boards (atlatl), bolas (three piece whip with weights that when thrown at birds tangles them), and fishing spears -After contact with Europeans these people are now called Inuit but this is less accepted now and they are just seen as one group -There
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