Research and Collections

Research and Collections

Dorset-Norse Interactions in the Canadian Eastern Arctic – Page 6

– Page 6 –


The strands of yarn and the wood recognized in the collections from Nunguvik, as well as smelted metal recently recovered from Late Dorset sites in other regions, has led to the consideration of new possibilities regarding the nature of relations between the Dorset people and the Norse. The yarn also provides evidence supporting the view that Dorset people survived in the High Arctic for some time after the arrival of the Norse in Greenland, and the similarity of the Nunguvik yarn to that used in late thirteenth/early fourteenth century textiles from Gården Under Sandet suggests Dorset survival into the fourteenth century.

What do the new finds tell us about the nature of Dorset-Norse contact? For the reasons argued previously, it is suggested that the strands of yarn from Nunguvik may be more indicative of direct contact on Baffin Island than long distance trade from a more geographically removed episode of contact. If such contact did occur in this local region, did it perhaps have more influence on local Dorset culture than we have perceived in the better-documented cases of Norse-Inuit contact? The answer to this question may lie in the unusual assemblage of wooden artifacts from feature N73. If this material does prove to resemble Norse workmanship as much as, or more than, it does Dorset workmanship, we may have to begin thinking in much different terms regarding the nature of Norse contact and influence on the aboriginal occupants of the High Arctic.


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