Inuit drum history longer than realised

Via Scoop.itNunavut

A reconstructed Saqqaq culture drum, shown here by Martin Appelt, an archaeologist at the National Museum of Denmark, and Natuk Lund Olsen, an ethnologist at the Greenland National Museum and Archives. (Photo: Greenland National Museum and Archives)


Two 4,500 year-old pieces of frozen wood found in Greenland have added a couple of thousand years to the history of the Inuit drum. But they help little in revealing the drums’ origin.

Unlike settlements elsewhere in the world, where only stone objects have survived thousands of years hidden in the soil, the deep-frozen remains in the Disko Bay area have also preserved perishable materials such as wood and bones, hair, feathers and skins.

Archaeological excavations at Qeqertasussuk and Qajaa in the 1980s brought countless otherwise unknown tools and objects to light – including harpoons and lances, tools with shafts, kitchen items, even parts of skin clothing.

Finds like this have gradually helped archaeologists draw a detailed picture of the people of the Saqqaq culture – the first inhabitants of western Greenland.

Now an extra dimension has been added because of the two pieces of frozen wood found among so many other wooden items from the two settlements that are now kept at museums in Nuuk and Qasigiannguit.




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