Situated learning and intergenerational creativity through time in Greenland
Lecturers: Matthew Walls
The influence of skilled practice in how communities come to know and interact with the world around them is an important but under-theorized topic in archaeology as a discipline that studies artifacts. In this seminar, I will present ethnoarchaeological fieldwork conducted with a community in Greenland who build skin-on-frame kayaks and practice traditional hunting techniques as a way of exploring Inuit heritage. Kayak hunting is a difficult skill to learn, and it takes place in complex environment – it involves the development of physical fitness, social relationships, sensory awareness, and personal experience. Kayaking is also represented in the archaeological record by a variety of material signatures, and has evidently been practiced by Inuit in Greenland since their ancestors first arrived about 800 years ago. In this context, I propose that understanding the inherent creativity through which knowledge is re-grown in the experiences of each generation of kayakers allows for a more nuanced archaeological narrative of how the past unfolded in Greenland as a uniquely Inuit story.