A historical glimpse of the hunting culture of the past
Qilakitsoq is an old Inuit settlement on the Nuussuaq peninsula on the west coast of Greenland around 450 km north of the Arctic Circle. In 1972 two brothers on a grouse hunt found a number of approximately 500-year-old mummies in the same grave underneath an outcrop of rock. Owing to a combination of the particular location on a north-facing slope, the dry air and the low temperatures, the mummified remains were in a particularly good state of preservation.
There were six women and two children, all of whom were fully dressed. The discovery of the remains brought with it a lot of new knowledge concerning the Inuit way of life and their clothing. The eight bodies were equipped for a long journey into life after death, since according to beliefs at the time it was considered necessary to be prepared for hunting even after death.
Exhibited in Nuuk
The original mummies are now on display at the National Museum in Nuuk. These discoveries have given us a unique insight into an era of Greenland's history which is otherwise very sparsely documented. The display shows the conditions under which the discovery was made, as well as the many other items of clothing that followed these people into the grave some 500 years ago.
You can see more of the old graves at this historic site if you go on a sailing trip which can be booked at Hotel Uummannaq.