Greenland sites aim for World Heritage

Area was used for seasonal hunting for millennia
Denmark has taken the final step in applying for World Heritage Site status for a 4,000sqkm swathe of land just north of the Arctic Circle, from Greenland’s icecap to Baffin Bay.
The area, known as Aasivissuit-Nipisat, was first used by Paleo-Eskimos in around 2150 BC, only going out of use in the 1950s due modernisation bringing an end to seasonal migration.
Apart from its natural beauty, the region should be recognised as it includes remains that “testify to the annual cycle and the conditions which were so special for the Greenland hunter culture”, the applicants say.
The remains show that hunters spent winters along the coast, where they hunted marine mammals such as whale, walrus and seal, before moving in spring to inland fjords and streams for trout fishing.
They moved further inland in late summer for reindeer hunts, using inussuk, or cairns, as a kind of scarecrow to steer reindeer into traps.
Only 16 of the 1,052 World Heritage Sites are in the greater Arctic, which conservation groups argue is too few. But now it is up to the UN cultural agency UNESCO to evaluate whether Aasivissuit-Nipisat is significant enough to become one. A team of inspectors will visit the area this summer and their decision is expected in 2018. A decision on another site, the Kujataa Viking farming settlement in southern Greenland, is expected this summer.
The Arctic Journal


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