If it is mentioned in your syllabus this semester, chances are, your teacher will ask you to write an essay on Dorset Culture. Unfortunately, as intriguing as this civilization may be, the pressure of writing an essay and submitting it on time is bound to get to you. In some cases, it can bring on a mental block, preventing you from even coming up with a good topic for your essay. Luckily, you do not have to worry about this issue any longer as the following lines offer great topics you can choose to write on.
The following are interesting topics that you can use as they are or to come up with your own. However, these are quite broad, so you need to narrow them down to ensure that your essay is well organized.
Once you pick a topic, remember to abide by the format your instructor’s requirements you are obligated to follow. There are also 23 facts on Dorset culture and complete guidelines on how to write an anthropology essay on the subject. If you still feel that you cannot write an essay just yet, here is a sample that can spark your own creativity and help you determine the direction your essay will take.
The natural preservation of the Dorset sites has led the anthropologists to discover organic materials like bone, antlers, ivory and wood. These organic materials were used to create many of the beautiful artifacts that have survived through the years and are currently stored in museums to shed more light on this civilization.
The Dorset people were extremely talented when it came to making beautiful artifacts via knapping, grooving and chafing different raw materials. It is this talent that differentiated them from the Thule civilization which had ample experience in warfare and weapon making. On the other hand, the Dorset Tradition had peaceful aspirations, a fact reflected in their craftsmanship. As they were a closed community that hardly interacted with other civilizations, much of their art has been inspired by members of their own community and elements of nature. At times, Dorset artists combined human and animal figures to create interesting motifs.
Many of the artefacts discovered over the years did not have practical applications. Archeologists are still unaware of whether these pieces were merely used for decoration or for religious purposes. However, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Ottawa believe that this prehistoric arctic art was implemented to ward off bad luck and evil spirits or assist in shamanic rituals. This would explain the masks and face clusters uncovered in archeological sites.
Further examination of the artefacts left behind by the Dorset culture revealed that no two artefacts are alike. This is because the techniques and styles used in creating them vary by the backgrounds of the artists themselves. This comes as no surprise considering how members of this civilization were spread across the arctic. Moreover, men alone were not limited to creating these artefacts. Women, both young and elderly would unleash their creativity, depicting subjects they were passionate about in soapstone, stone, bone, whalebone and ivory.
Like other indigenous cultures that were known to spend their time creating tools that would assist them in hunting or defending their villages, the Dorset Tradition also took the time to create weapons and tools from the same raw materials they used for their sculptures. Other artifacts discovered from the Dorset digging sites include various interesting tools such as the triangular points with concave bases and burin-like tools. In addition to axe-like wood carving cutting tools, scrapers of different kinds were also dug from the sites, such as end-scrapers and semi-circular side scrapers. The Dorset people also exhibited great talent while making knives and sharp pointed tools. Furthermore, they also made tanged microblades, schist blades, harpoon heads, arrowheads, snow knives, sled runners, and snow crampons.
There is no end to the creativity of the Dorset culture, especially with so many elements in the surroundings to continuously inspire the people. However, preserving whatever remained behind is important as these artistic pieces have the power to inspire today’s artists as well.
Michael Fortescue, Steven Jacobson & Lawrence Kaplan (1994): Comparative Eskimo Dictionary; with Aleut Cognates (Alaska Native Language Center Research Paper 9)
Robert McGhee (2005): The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World
Robert McGhee (2001): Ancient People of the Arctic
Plummet Patrick, Lebel Serge (1997). “Dorset Tip Fluting: A Second ‘American’ Invention”. Arctic Anthropology 34 (2): 132–162.
Renouf M.A.P. (1999). “Prehistory of Newfoundland Hunter-Gatherers: Extinctions or Adaptations?”. World Archaeology 30 (3): 403–420
Bonvillain, Nancy. The Inuit. Chelsea House Publishers, 1995
Avataq Cultural Institute, 2015, Arctic Chronology, source: http://www.avataq.qc.ca/en/Institute/Departments/Archaeology/Discovering-Archaeology/Arctic-Chronology