Saturday, August 14, 2010

Thule Grave

Thule Grave, originally uploaded by susanvg.

Adventure Canada trip: July 23 - August 2

The first wave of people to settle the area that is now Nunavut were the Tunlit or Dorset people. The next group came about 1000 years ago, the Thule. This is a typical grave of the Thule. The permafrost does not allow for digging graves, so rocks are piled over the body.

Entrance to Sod House Sleeping Platform
Left: step to enter the house Right: Sleeping Platform

We think of Inuit people living in igloos, but many lived in sod houses. They would dig as much as they could into a slight hillside, build a step a little higher than the floor of the entry tunnel. This would help keep the cold air from entering. The house would have a sleeping platform with storage underneath, a hearth where they would use oil lamps to heat the area and to cook (though some food was eaten raw). The family slept together on furs or hides and covered by furs. The walls of the hut were often made of whale bone then covered by skins and finally sod.

Thule Sod House

The site near Resolute has been well preserved. There are the remains of a number of sod houses which were occupied from around 1400 - the mid 1600s. A mini ice age happened at that time and the people may have had to move farther south in order to hunt the whales they needed for food.

More photos: click here


  1. More amazing pics and very interesting information. Who says learning doesn't happen outside the class? ;-)

  2. So interesting, Susan. Can you imagine withstanding that cold day after day?

  3. Thank you for this fascinating information and pictures! I am learning so much from your blog.