Saqqaq culture

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Archaeological remains of the Saqqaq culture in Sermermiut, Disko Bay, West Greenland coast.

The Saqqaq culture (named after the Saqqaq settlement, the site of many archaeological finds) was a Paleo-Eskimo culture in Greenland.


The earliest known archaeological culture in southern Greenland, Saqqaq culture existed from around 2500 BCE until about 800 BCE.[1] This culture coexisted with the Independence I culture of northern Greenland, which developed around 2400 BCE and lasted until about 1300 BCE.[1] After the Saqqaq culture disappeared, the Independence II culture of northern Greenland and the Early Dorset culture of the West Greenland emerged. There is some debate about the timeframe of the transition from Saqqaq culture to Early Dorset in western Greenland.[1]

In the northeastern part of Greenland, this culture is labeled "Independence I" while in the western part of Greenland, this culture is labeled "Saqqaq Culture". The Saqqaq culture came in two phases, the main difference of the two being that the newer phase adapted the use of sandstone. The younger phase of the Saqqaq culture coincides with the oldest phase of the Dorset culture. [2]

Archaeological findings[edit]

Frozen remains of a Saqqaq dubbed "Inuk" were found in western Greenland and have been DNA sequenced.[3] He had brown eyes, black hair, and shovel-shaped teeth. It has been determined that he lived about 4000 years ago, and was related to native populations in northeastern Siberia. The Saqqaq people are not the ancestors of contemporary Kalaallit people, but instead are related to modern Chukchi and Koryak peoples. It is not known whether they crossed in boats or over ice.[4]

Saqqaq peoples were physically adapted to extremely cold climates. They lived in small tents and hunted seals, seabirds, and other marine animals.[4] The people of the Saqqaq culture used silicified slate, agate, quartzite, and rock crystals as materials for their tools. [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Saqqaq culture profile — from the Greenland Research Centre at the National Museum of Denmark.
  2. ^ a b Mobjerg, Tinna (1 January 1999). "New Adaptive Strategies in the Saqqaq Culture of Greenland, c. 1600-1400 BC". World Archaeology. 30 (3): 452–465. JSTOR 124963. 
  3. ^ "Ancient human genome sequence of an extinct Palaeo-Eskimo". Nature Publishing Group. 2010. pp. 463, 757–762. doi:10.1038/nature08835. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  4. ^ a b Walton, Doreen. "Analysis of hair DNA reveals ancient human's face." BBC News. (retrieved 11 February 2010)

External links[edit]