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|Explorer's stories : Ectoparasites and Hygienic studies in North West Greenland
|From the end of the 19th century through to the beginning of the 20th century Northwest Greenland was frequently visited by explorers and others attempting to reach the reach the North Pole. Their adventures elicited amazing descriptions of the land and its inhabitants. However, not all of the descriptions were positive, nor did they praise some aspects of local Inuit life. Many explorers, such as Robert Peary and Elisha Kent Kane, wrote less than favourable accounts of the personal habits of the Greenland Inuit they encountered. But how accurate were those descriptions?
Using archaeoentomology to analyse insects and ectoparasites recovered from several houses, we re-examine these notions. Using spatial analysis to study ectoparasite distribution in different activity areas, and by comparing the samples with those from similar contexts taken from Northern Labrador, we propose a different narrative about personal hygiene amongst the Greenland Inuit of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
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|1591, rue du grand-bourg
Short article published in the Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Canada in June 2009.