it is anticipated that thousands of sites are awaiting discovery
March 1, 2016 1:59 PM   Subscribe

The REMAINS of Greenland project is attempting to locate and preserve archaeological sites in Greenland before they are lost to the destructive effects of climate change. [via]
posted by prize bull octorok (8 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I just saw this over at LGM. It's both really thrilling--some of those remains look amazing--and horrifying.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:24 PM on March 1, 2016

In Vagrant Viking, Peter Freuchen's account of his time in Greenland which I just finished reading, he describes how he and a couple of Inuit friends started a tiny village which he named Thule. He returned years later to find it a huge airbase. Greenland was Freuchen's home just as the way of life was moving from the ancient to the modern. It probably wouldn't be much of an archeological site but I wonder if the original Thule settlement (and how much else) was obliterated by the base.
posted by anadem at 7:37 PM on March 1, 2016

Thanks for this post! I have become inexplicably obsessed with Greenland over the past several months and will enjoy studying this site.
posted by orrnyereg at 10:49 PM on March 1, 2016

Greenland starts living up to its name...

Lots of this about. Last time I was on Shetland, I was at a Bronze Age/Iron Age site with quite substantial stone remains and a midden crumbling from a cliff face into the sea (really - I could have pulled shells and bones out with my fingers) when a small team from Historic Scotland came along to document its degradation. They said that there was little to no chance of any rescue archaeology being done in the foreseeable future, as the number of at-risk sites so substantially outstripped the resources to investigate them, and the one we were at then, although it had a wealth of interesting features, just wasn't significant enough.

Even if you do a full-on dig, the finds disappear into a vault somewhere to await the lead investigator's report write-up, which can take... a very long time. Not everything survives that process, either.
posted by Devonian at 7:30 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Climate change is disproportionally affecting archaeological sites in the arctic and there are lots of efforts underway to recover as much material as possible before it washes away. Anne Jensen's work around Barrow, Alaska stands out, as does recent work by Max Friesen in the Mackenzie Delta on the NWT coast.

It's incredibly sad to watch an archaeological site fall apart, silencing voices from the past for a final time.
posted by wollaston at 7:41 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Will this include the James Bond villain sized secret nuclear bases the US started building in the 1960s (then abandoned)?
posted by eye of newt at 10:43 PM on March 2, 2016

anadem --- I think, but am not 100% positive, that Thule AB is not actually on top of Freuchen's Thule village site; the air base is to the southwest of Mt. Dundas, and the long-abandoned village is just north of it. (Sorry, I can't recall the Greenlandic name for Dundas right now.)

And the base was 'huge' back in 1952 when it was built, for a DEW-line radar site plus B-52 bombers; the bombers and missiles were removed back in the 1970s. Back in the beginning it had something like twelve thousand people stationed there, but it was down to a little under a thousand people (about one quarter US Air Force, one quarter US civilians, the other half mostly Danish contractors with a smattering of Inuit) when I was there about 25 years ago.
posted by easily confused at 6:15 AM on March 3, 2016

Thule AB is on top of Freuchen's Thule village site.
posted by Martinvermeer at 1:12 PM on April 1, 2016

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