Arctic 500-year-old tomb preserves oldest known Inuit dress

June 6, 2016
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In a 500 year-old grave in northwest Greenland two hunters have found medieval Inuit dress. Such a finding arose an interest from ethnologists and archaeologists. Arctic tomb could preserve untouchable the oldest examples of Inuit clothing, as well mummified remains of eight people. The grave was found in 1972, so now old Inuit dress from the Arctic tomb are shown at the Greenland National Museum.

In 1972, two hunters discovered a couple of stone covered graves in Greenland’s northwest. Inside the tomb scientists found the mummified remains of eight people. Thanks to low Arctic temperatures, remains and clothing were in the perfect state. Radiocarbon analysis has shown that Inuits died at 1485, archaeologists said. So, 500-year-old tomb became very popular theme for Scandinavian scientists.

The discovery itself was a sensation for ethnologists as well – clothing of medieval Inuits differed a lot from modern pattern of their national dress. Those clothes were made of skin and fur, with no hint of the decorative pearls or colorful fabrics that are used in Inuit dress nowadays, says Aviâja Rosing Jakobsen, acurator from the Greenland National Museum, Nuuk.

Jakobsen has documented the transformation of the Greenlandic national costume from an everyday, practical style to the celebration dress that we know today.

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