Over 1,000 years ago, an incredible polar journey began. The ancestors of modern-day Inuit left northern Alaska and migrated eastward, across the Arctic to Greenland.

For almost a century, archaeologists have studied the remains left behind by these Arctic people, known as Thule (pronounced too-lee). But archaeologists were puzzled by how the Thule built their houses constructed of whalebones.

In 1994, Peter Dawson, an archaeologist from the University of Calgary, measured and recorded how whalebones were used to create the Thule’s semi-subterranean houses. These measurements were used to create the 3-D models of the houses on this website. These models help us understand the architectural and design problems faced by the Thule as they built their homes, and help us understand what life was like inside a whalebone house. Find out more about the computer models that show how these houses were made.

Timeline

Learn more about what was happening around the world during the time of the Thule people.

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Explore Outside the House

Find out what life was like in the Arctic 1,000 years ago and how the Thule survived in this challenging environment.

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Go Inside the House

Discover what it was like to live inside a whale – where was the kitchen, the bathroom and where did the children play?