Ancient People of the Arctic

Overview

Ancient People of the Arctic traces the lives of the Palaeo-Eskimos, the bold first explorers of the Arctic. Four thousand years ago, these people entered the far northern extremes of the North American continent, carving a living out of their bleak new homeland. From the hints they left behind, accessible only through the fragmented archaeological record, Robert McGhee ingeniously reconstructs a picture of this life at the margins. He discusses how the Palaeo-Eskimos spread across the entire Arctic, explains how...
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Overview

Ancient People of the Arctic traces the lives of the Palaeo-Eskimos, the bold first explorers of the Arctic. Four thousand years ago, these people entered the far northern extremes of the North American continent, carving a living out of their bleak new homeland. From the hints they left behind, accessible only through the fragmented archaeological record, Robert McGhee ingeniously reconstructs a picture of this life at the margins. He discusses how the Palaeo-Eskimos spread across the entire Arctic, explains how they dealt with sharp climate changes that drastically altered their environment, offers glimpses into their spiritual practices and world view, and speculates about their eventual demise. For three thousand years, the Palaeo-Eskimos not only successfully adapted to their frozen land but also developed a rich cultural life. Their archaeological sites yield a trove of beautifully crafted tools made from bone, ivory, quartz, and flint. The Palaeo-Eskimos have left far more than the hundreds of pieces of art recovered by archaeologists and the evidence of human ingenuity and endurance on the perimeter of the habitable world. Their most valuable legacy lies in the realization that these two things occurred together and were part of the same phenomenon. They provide an example of lives lived richly and joyfully amid dangers and insecurities that are beyond the imagination of the present world.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Four thousand years ago, the Palaeo-Eskimos entered the far northern extremes of the North American continent, carving a living out of their bleak new homeland. Archaeologist McGhee reconstructs a picture of this life, discussing how they spread across the entire Arctic, and how they dealt with sharp climate changes. He also offers glimpses into their spiritual practices and world view, and speculates about their eventual demise. Includes many photographs of assorted art objects and tools found at archaeological sites. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780774808545
  • Publisher: University of British Columbia Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Maps, Figures, and Illustrations
Acknowledgments
1 A People of the Imagination 3
2 Eskimo History 12
3 An Asiatic People in America 24
4 The People of the Muskox Way 44
5 The Great Exploration 73
6 When the Climate Changes 106
7 How an Arctic Culture Was Transformed 120
8 The Dorset People 135
9 Lost Visions 149
10 Encounters and Isolation 174
11 The End of the Dorset World 196
Note on Sources 235
Index 238
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