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1 October 2012 Archaeological Commentary on the Isotopic Study of the Greenland Thule Culture
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Abstract

An archaeological commentary is given on the results of the first isotopic study of the Greenland Thule culture. To test the isotopic data derived from human remains from the graves, comparative archaeological data of the faunal and artifactual material from the sites are presented. To make the two data sets comparable, the faunal material are presented in NISP and the artifactual material are presented as technounits. The three data sets given, i.e., the isotopic, the faunal, and the artifactual, confirm that the Inuit were heavily reliant on marine protein and resources. Exceptions are those from Northeast Greenland, whose isotopic signatures show evidence of consumption of terrestrial protein as well, a statement confirmed by the archaeological material, faunal as well as artifactual, showing that ca. 20% and 40% of bones as well as technounits found on coastal and inland sites, respectively, are related to terrestrial resources. The conclusion made is that the isotopic analyses are valid in archaeological contexts and support the archaeological material. Concerning the substantial use of inland resources in Northeast Greenland compared with the ethnographically documented intensive caribou hunting in West Greenland, the former region still remains most enigmatic from a cultural point of view.

Hans Christian Gulløv "Archaeological Commentary on the Isotopic Study of the Greenland Thule Culture," Journal of the North Atlantic 2012(sp3), 65-76, (1 October 2012). https://doi.org/10.3721/037.004.s306
Published: 1 October 2012
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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