National Geographic : 1956 Nov
687 Eugene Ostroff Sled Dog Gets Leather Boots to Protect Paws from Jagged Ice Aiviliks hitch dogs in fan formation (page 673), instead of Alaska's tandem style. This team made the 40-mile run from Coral Harbour to Native Point in 14 hours. Protective boots leave nails free for traction. We have no proof that the people them selves actually and physically traveled from Europe across Asia to Arctic America. This appears highly unlikely because of the vast distances involved. How then can this move ment of culture be explained? Fitting the Puzzle Together During long periods people invariably af fect their neighbors, one culture touching an other, people drifting back and forth; this is cultural diffusion, not migration, though the result often is quite similar. Thus it was, we think, that Eurasian Stone Age culture spread eastward to Alaska and then to Southampton Island. Why it lived on in North America for thousands of years after it ended in Eu rope remains unknown. Arctic isolation is perhaps the best explanation. How does our puzzle of the Eskimos' origin stand now? What new pieces did we find in the snowy wastes of Southampton Island, and how do they fit together? On one side we see the Stone Age cultures of Eurasia, dating about 6000 B. C. Next comes a tantalizing gap: the time until the Dorsets appear in Canada more than 2,000 years ago. Then another piece: the similarity of Mesolithic implements to those of the early Dorset site at Native Point. The next piece, the relationship of the Dor sets to the Sadlermiuts, who actually entered the 20th century, fairly snaps into place. There we leave the puzzle, some pieces fitting neatly together, others poorly shaped, but the gaps between them a little smaller than they were before we investigated the tumbled ruins and middens of Southampton Island.