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LATE DORSET TRIANGULAR MIDPASSAGES IN THE CANADIAN ARCTIC AND NORTHWEST GREENLAND: ORIGINS AND DISPERSAL

  • John Darwent (a1), James M. Savelle (a2), Christyann M. Darwent (a1), Arthur S. Dyke (a3) (a4), Hans Lange (a5), Genevieve M. LeMoine (a6) and Claude Pinard (a7)...
Abstract

Midpassages are the most recognizable architectural feature associated with the entire Paleoeskimo period (2800 BC–AD 1300) in the Canadian and Greenlandic Arctic. Usually built of stone, midpassages are rectangular-shaped axial structures that run through the center of tent rings and semisubterranean house depressions. However, a unique triangular form of midpassage developed in association with the Late Dorset complex in the Boothia Peninsula area of the Canadian Arctic around AD 400. Unlike the rectangular-shaped varieties that were built contemporaneously across the Arctic, distribution of the triangular form is limited, and occurrences are rare. Initially, construction appears restricted to the Boothia Peninsula region, where the form persisted for the subsequent 400 years. After AD 900, they are found in Inglefield Land, Greenland, and a few other locations in the Canadian Arctic where they continued to be built until around AD 1200, representing an over 800-year period in a remarkably unvarying configuration. Further, these triangular midpassage structures very likely represent a regional architectural variant that moved northward with the Late Dorset diaspora after AD 800.

Dans l'arctique canadien et le Groenland, les aménagemant axial sont les structures architecturales les plus frappantes associées à la tradition Artic Small Tool (2800 BC–AD 1300). Généralement construites en pierre, ces structures axiales de forme rectangulaire connectent le centre et les zones semi- souterraines de l'habitation. Avec le complexe Dorset Tardif (vers 400 AD) une forme spécifique de passage triangulaire se développe dans la Péninsule de Boothia et l'arctique canadien. Contemporaine des passages rectangulaires répandus à travers l'arctique, la variante triangulaire reste rare et sa distribution est limitée. Au départ, elle se retrouvent uniquement dans la péninsule de Boothia ou elle persiste durant environ 400 ans. Apres 900 AD, on la retrouve dans l'Inglefield Land, le Groenland et dans d'autres localités de l'arctique canadien ou ce type de construction perdure jusque vers 1200 AD Les aménagemant axial triangulaires représentent donc une variante architecturale se déplaçant vers le Nord en avec la diaspora du Dorset Tardif, à partir de 800 AD Leurs configurations restent inchangées durant une période ininterrompue d'environ 800 ans.

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Corresponding author
(jadarwent@ucdavis.edu, corresponding author)
References
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