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Ancient routes of the Inuit mapped for the first time

Ancient routes of the Inuit mapped for the first time

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A new digital resource brings together centuries of cultural knowledge for the first time, showing that networks of trails over snow and sea ice, seemingly unconnected to the untrained eye, in fact span a continent – and that the Inuit have long-occupied one of the most resource-rich and contested areas on the planet.

For centuries, indigenous peoples in the Arctic navigated the land, sea, and ice, using knowledge of trails that was passed down through the generations.

Now, researchers have mapped these ancient routes using archival and published accounts of encounters with Inuit stretching back through the 19th and 20th centuries, and have released it online for the public as an interactive atlas – bringing together hundreds of years of accrued cultural knowledge for the first time.

The atlas, found at paninuittrails.org, is constructed from historical records, maps, trails and place names, and allows the first overview of the "pan-Inuit" world that is being fragmented as the annual sea ice diminishes and commercial mining and oil drilling encroaches.

Example of new digital map showing the trails of the Inuit. Source: paninuittrails.org

Researchers say the atlas is important not just for cultural preservation but to show the geographical extent and connectedness of Inuit occupancy – illustrating their historic sovereignty and mobility over a resource-rich area with important trade routes that are opening up due to climate change.

"To the untutored eye, these trails may seem arbitrary and indistinguishable from surrounding landscapes. But for Inuit, the subtle features and contours are etched into their narratives and story-telling traditions with extraordinary precision," said Dr Michael Bravo from Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute, who co-directed the research with colleagues Claudio Aporta from Dalhousie University, and Fraser Taylor from Carleton University in Canada. "This atlas is a first step in making visible some of the most important tracks and trails spanning the North American continent from one end to the other."

Over the course of centuries, Arctic peoples established a network of trails – routes across the sea ice in the winter, and across open water in the summer, that stretched for hundreds of kilometres, allowing them to follow the seasonal movements of sea and land mammals on which their lives depended.

The intricate network of trails also connected Inuit groups with each other. The atlas shows that, when brought together, these connections span the continent from Greenland to Alaska. Understanding the trails is essential to appreciating Inuit history and occupancy of the Arctic, say the researchers, for which the new atlas is a vital step.

The material has been digitised and organised geo-spatially, with trails mapped out over satellite imagery using global positioning systems. It constitutes the first attempt to map the ancient hubs and networks that have long-existed in a part of the world frequently and wrongly depicted as 'empty': as though an unclaimed stretch of vacant space.

This notion of emptiness is one that benefits those governments and corporations whose investments in shipping routes into the northern archipelago conveniently downplay the presence of the people that have lived there for centuries.

While much of the Arctic appears 'featureless' to outsiders, it's not – and the Inuit learned how to read the fine-grained details of this landscape. Knowledge of the trails was attained by remembering specific journeys they themselves had taken, or learning in detail instructions in the oral narratives passed on by others. The Inuit were able to read the snow, the prevailing wind, the thickness of the ice, and the landscape as a whole. Over hundreds of years, their culture and way of life was, therefore, written into the landscape. The region became an intimate part of who they are.

"The trails are lived, remembered, and celebrated through the connections that ultimately reflect the Inuit traditions of sharing life while travelling," said Bravo. "The geographical range of the atlas is a testimony to the legacy of the Inuit people, their remarkable collective memory built on practices of detailed observation, and motivated by an enduring sense of curiosity, as well as a set of ethical obligations to the living world they inhabit," he said.

Featured image: Inuit Family by James E Bourhill (19 th Century). Image source .

Source: First atlas of Inuit Arctic trails launched . University of Cambridge


Inuit — Inuktitut for “the people” — are an Indigenous people, the majority of whom inhabit the northern regions of Canada. An Inuit person is known as an Inuk. The Inuit homeland is known as Inuit Nunangat, which refers to the land, water and ice contained in the Arctic region.

Inuksuit were stone cairns erected by the Inuit to serve as landmarks or to fool the caribou in hunting (Corel Professional Photos). Indigenous peoples brought dogs with them to the Americas (courtesy Library and Archives Canada). Group preparing for the hunt (courtesy Lewis Parker). Some Inuit still follow a nomadic way of life, while others are involved in the administration and development of northern Canada (Corel Professional Photos). Photograph by Robert Flaherty, 1911, who found in this man "a humanity so golden that he carried it with him ever afterward as a touchstone of judgement."


Inuit — Inuktitut for “the people” — are an Indigenous people, the majority of whom inhabit the northern regions of Canada. An Inuit person is known as an Inuk. (See also Arctic Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

Territory and Demography

The Inuit homeland is known as Inuit Nunangat, which refers to the land, water and ice contained in the Arctic region. The term Inuit Nunangat may also be used to refer to land occupied by the Inuit in Alaska and Greenland. By 2016, according to Statistics Canada, the Inuit population grew to 65,025, an increase of 29.1 per cent since 2006. The Inuit represent 3.9 per cent of the total Indigenous population of Canada.

In 2016, approximately 73 per cent of all Inuit in Canada lived in Inuit Nunangat, with more than half (63.7 per cent) living in Nunavut, followed by Nunavik (in northern Québec), the western arctic (Northwest Territories and Yukon), known as Inuvialuit, and Nunatsiavut (located along the northern coast of Labrador).

Language and Ethnic Groups

Inuktitut, the Inuit language, has five main dialects in Canada: Inuvialuktun (Inuvialuit region in the Northwest Territories) Inuinnaqtun (western Nunavut) Inuktitut (eastern Nunavut dialect) Inuktitut (Nunavik dialect) and Nunatsiavumiuttut (Nunatsiavut). (See also Indigenous Languages in Canada.)

In 2016, 41,650 Inuit reported having conversational knowledge of an Inuit language or dialect. In Inuit Nunangat as a whole, 83.9 per cent of Inuit reported conversational ability in an Inuit language. Inuktitut usage was strongest in Nunavik, where the ability to converse in that language was 99.2 per cent. In Nunavut, 89.1 per cent reported the ability to converse in an Inuit language. In contrast, the figures for speaking an Inuit language (mainly Inuvialuktun and Inuinnaqtun) were 21.4 per cent in Nunatsiavut and 22 per cent in the Inuvialuit region.

Declining usage of Inuktitut prompted the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami(ITK) — the national voice of Inuit in Inuit Nunangat, founded in 1971 — to establish Inuktitut curriculum in schools. Beginning in the 1960s, federal and territorial governments also worked to establish Inuktitut language programs, though for some, justification was partly based on the assumption that establishing such educational traditions would facilitate transition to English or French.

Culture and Life

Traditionally, the Inuit were hunters and gatherers who moved seasonally from one camp to another. Large regional groupings were loosely separated into smaller seasonal groups, winter camps (called "bands") of around 100 people and summer hunting groups of fewer than a dozen. Each band was roughly identified with a locale and named accordingly — the Arvirtuurmiut of Boothia Peninsula were called "baleen whale-eating people." (See also Igloo and Inuksuk.)

In contemporary northern communities, many types of food such as fruit, vegetables, and milk must be transported long distances, resulting in higher costs, limited availability and food that is not fresh. However, the availability of "country food" through harvesting and sharing partially explains the high percentage of Inuit who consume country food. A report released in 2005 found that a majority (68 per cent) of Inuk adults living in Inuit Nunangat harvested country food, which includes seal, whale, duck, caribou, fish and berries. Country food remains an important food source for many Inuit, with 65 per cent of households getting at least half their meat and fish from country food, and approximately 80 per cent of Inuit Nunangat families sharing country food with people in other households. (See also Food Insecurity in Canada.)

The Inuit have a rich and diverse culture. Inuit art, from carving to printmaking and more, demonstrates highly-skilled craftsmanship and artistry. Some well-known Inuit artists include Kenojuak Ashevak, Shuvinai Ashoona and Annie Pootoogook. Another popular cultural activity is Inuit vocal games, also known as throat singing. This is usually performed by two women producing a wide range of sounds from deep in the throat and chest. Many Inuit also compete in traditional games and sports such as high-kick (one and two foot varieties) and kneel-jump. Such games are featured in the Arctic Winter Games, held every two years.


During roughly 4,000 years of human history in the Arctic, the appearance of new people has brought continual cultural change. The ancestors of the present-day Inuit, who are culturally related to Inupiat (northern Alaska), Katladlit (Greenland) and Yuit (Siberia and western Alaska), arrived about 1050 CE.

As early as the 11th century the Norse exerted an undetermined influence on the Inuit. The subsequent arrival of explorers, whalers, traders, missionaries, scientists and others began irreversible cultural changes. The Inuit themselves participated actively in these developments as guides, traders and models of survival. (See also Eenoolooapik and Tookoolito.)

The effects of colonization have seriously impacted Inuit culture and life. Though largely ignored by the Canadian federal government until 1939, when a court decision ruled that they were a federal responsibility (though still not subject to the Indian Act) the Inuit were still subjected to policies that enforced assimilation into a “Canadian” way of life. Many Inuit children attended residential schools in Canada. (See also Inuit Experiences at Residential School.) Formerly nomadic peoples were transformed, sometimes through forced relocation (see also Inuit High Arctic Relocations in Canada), into sedentary communities, and disc numbers were introduced to supersede an Inuit naming system that did not correspond to administrative needs. Disc numbers — so-called because they were distributed on small leather or pressed-fibre discs initially meant to be worn on one’s person — imposed a government sanctioned name on Inuit who may have been known by several names throughout their lives and depending on context. The system used location-based serial numbers. For example, filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk’s disc number is E51613. The imposition of disc numbers remains a culturally traumatic event, and has been criticized as fostering structural inequality. (See also Project Surname.)

Despite adjustments made by the Inuit over the past three centuries and the loss of some traditional features, Inuit culture persists — often with a greater reflective awareness. Inuit maintain a cultural identity through language, family and cultural laws, attitudes and behaviour, and through much acclaimed Inuit art.

Moving Toward Self-Government

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Inuit began organizing politically in response to assimilative policies and government restrictions on traditional lands. In order to lobby effectively for land claims, Indigenous rights and self-government, a group of Inuit people formed Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami or ITK (then known as Inuit Tapirisat of Canada) in 1971. The organization supports and advocates for the interests of all Inuit living in 53 communities across Inuit Nunangat. Such interests represent an array of interconnected issues and challenges, including social, cultural, political, and environmental concerns.

First proposed by ITK in 1976, and supported by plebiscite in 1982, the Nunavut territory was agreed to in principle in a land claim in 1990, and formalized with the Nunavut Act in 1993.A strong base of politically experienced leaders allowed for a relatively smooth transition to official territory status in 1999. Three other land claim agreements in Inuit Nunangat support some level of Inuit self-government. The Makivik Corporation, through the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, is working toward a self-governing Nunavik, as is the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation for Inuvialuit. Nunatsiavut has been self-governed since 1 December 2005 after the implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the Labrador Inuit Constitution.

Contemporary Challenges

Despite gains made in self-government and other fields like business, teaching, transportation, medicine and broadcasting (see also Inuit Broadcasting Corporation), many Inuit in northern communities face significant challenges, such as living in some of the most crowded conditions in Canada. Since being moved to permanent settlements in the 1950s and 1960s, Inuit have lacked adequate housing and have suffered related health problems. (See also Health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.) In 2016, 51.7 Inuit in Inuit Nunangat reported living in over-crowded conditions, compared to 8.5 per cent of non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Living conditions and lack of access to healthcare partially contribute to an increase in chronic health conditions, including obesity, diabetes and respiratory infections. (See also Social Conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.) The suicide rate among Inuit youth is markedly higher than for the rest of Canada, making suicide prevention a key priority for continued cultural growth. (See also Suicide among Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

9 Oldest Maps in the World

Humans have been making maps for thousands of years and the history of cartography (mapmaking) can be traced all the way back to ancient cave paintings. These early maps depicted the stars and showed how constellations would have looked at the time. As human’s gathered more knowledge of the world, the first maps of the known world started to appear. The ancient Greeks are largely responsible for developing geography and extensively describing what they new about the world and its people at the time. While copies of most of these maps don’t exist, they have been reconstructed because of the detailed notes that the Greeks kept.

9. Strabo’s Map

Year Created: Uknown – believed to be no earlier than 20 BCE
Country of Origin: Anatolia during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire (modern-day Turkey)
Creator: Greek geographer, historian, and philosopher Strabo
Materials Used: Ink and parchment
Area Depicted: The known world at the time to the ancient Greeks and Romans

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian Strabo is mostly known for his geographical encyclopedia titled Geographica (not to be confused with Eratosthenes’ work). Unlike other geographical works from the time period, nearly all of Strabo’s 17-volume work has survived and it great historical insight into this time period.

Strabos decided to approach geography through what he believed was more practical than focusing on number and precise positions of places. Instead, Geographica provides a descriptive history of the people and places that were known during Strabo’s time. Strabos traveled extensively and took notes and also gathered information from earlier works to compile his book. During his life, Strabo’s Geographica was underutilized and unappreciated but it survived because several copies were made during the Byzantine Empire and it became a standard in other parts of Europe.

8. Eratosthenes’ Map

Year Created: c.276 – c.195/194 BCE
Country of Origin: Ancient Greece
Creator: Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist Eratosthenes
Materials Used: Ink and parchment
Area Depicted: An improved map of the known world at the time to the ancient Greeks

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Although earlier Greeks created world maps and studied lands, Eratosthenes is known as the “father of geography” and is credited with inventing the discipline and coining the terminology still used today. Eratosthenes was not only a geographer, but he was also a mathematician and astronomer which helped him create a more detailed and accurate world map.

During his time as chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria, Eratosthenes wrote a three-volume work titled Geography (Geographika in Greek). In the book, he described and mapped the entire known world and divided the Earth into five climate zones. Eratosthenes was also the first person to place grids over his map and used parallels and meridians to link together every place in the world. His map also featured over 400 cities and their accurate locations, which had never been done before.

7. Hecataeus’ Map

Year Created: c.550 – 476 BCE
Country of Origin: Ancient Greek city of Miletus (area in modern-day Turkey)
Creator: Greek historian and geographer Hecataeus
Materials Used: Unknown
Area Depicted: The known world at the time to ancient Greeks

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Hecataeus of Miletus was the first known Greek historian and geographer. Hecataeus lived in the same city as Anaximander, who is credited with creating the first world map. However, they did not live at the same time but Hecataeus was inspired by Anaximander’s work and added improvements to his world map.

Hecataeus’ version of the world map was more detailed and accompanied by a book called the Periodos ges. The book was a comprehensive work on the known geography of Europe, Asia, and Africa at the time. In addition to detailing the known lands, Hecataeus included information about the people and places that a person would encounter if they followed his map from the Straight of Gibraltar clockwise to the Black Sea.

6. Anaximander’s Map

Year Created: c.610 – 546 BCE
Country of Origin: Ancient Greek city of Miletus (area in modern-day Turkey)
Creator: Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Anaximander
Materials Used: Unknown for sure but possibly an etched rounded metal surface
Area Depicted: The known world at the time to ancient Greeks

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Although there were older maps drawn in ancient times, the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Anaximander is often credited with being the first person to publish a map of the world. Unlike earlier maps – which featured roads, towns, and other geological features – Anaximander chose to show all of the inhabited lands known to the ancient Greeks. In this way, Anaximander’s map was the first world map.

No copy of Anaximander’s map exists but there are written records that describe in detail what the map depicted. The map shows what was known of Europe, Asia, and Libya (the name given to the region of Africa that was known at the time), the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Nile, Lake Maeotis, and the Phasis River (now called the Rioni).

5. Babylonian Map of the World

Year Created: c.6th century BCE
Country of Origin: Babylon, Iraq
Creator: Unknown
Materials Used: Engraved clay tablet
Area Depicted: The known world at the time to Ancient Babylonians

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Babylonian Map of the World is considered the oldest world map as the map depicted the known world at the time. The areas on the map are labeled and the clay tablet also contains a short and partially lost description written in cuneiform.

The map is circular and features two outer defined circles. The center of the map shows the Euphrates river flowing from north to south and the city of Babylon is shown along the river. Some of the other cities shown on the map include Uratu, Susa (the capital of Elam), Assyria, and Habban. The map also shows a mountain, the ocean (labeled as “bitter river”), as well as unknown outer regions beyond the Ocean.

4. Turin Papyrus Map

Year Created: c.1160 BCE
Country of Origin: Egypt
Creator: Egyptian scribe Amennakhte
Materials Used: Drawings on papyrus
Area Depicted: Topographical map of Wadi Hammamat

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Turin Papyrus Map is widely considered the oldest existing topographical map from the ancient world. The map was created around 1160 BCE and due to diligent ancient Egyptian record keeping, researchers know who drew the map and what it was for. The map was drawn by a well-known scribe Amennakhte and prepared for Ramesses IV, who wanted to quarry the Wadi Hammamat in the Eastern Desert. Ramessess IV wanted to use bekhen-stone (metagraywacke sandstone) to build statues of himself.

Depicted in the map is a 15-kilometre stretch of Wadi Hammamat and shows where the wadi merged with wadis Atalla and el-Sid. The map also shows the surrounding hills, the bekhen-stone quarry, and the gold mine and settlement at Bir Umm Fawakhir. In addition to being the oldest topographical map, the Turin Papyrus Map is also the earliest known geological map because it showed the local distribution of different rock types, the diverse wadi gravels, and contained information on quarrying and mining.

3. Abauntz Lamizulo Rock Map

Year Created: c.14,000 BCE
Country of Origin: Navarre, Spain
Creator: Unknown – possibly Magdalenian hunter-gatherers
Materials Used: Engraved rock
Area Depicted: Area around Abauntz Lamizulo cave and animals such as red deer and ibex

photo source: The Daily Mail

The map engraved into a hand-sized rock found in the Abauntz Lamizulo cave in the Navarre region of Spain is believed to be the oldest map ever found in Western Europe. The rock was initially discovered in 1994 but it took researchers about 15 years (2009) to decipher the meaning of the etched lines. According to the research team led by Pilar Utrilla from the University of Zaragoza in Spain, “All of these engravings could be a sketch or a simple map of the area around the cave. It could represent the plan for a coming hunt or perhaps a narrative story of one that had already happened.”

The research team believes that the cave would have been a strategic location for the hunters who probably drew out the map. Further evidence backing up the belief that the map depicts the area around Abauntz Lamizulo is the drawing of the mountain, San Gregorio, that can be seen from the cave.

2. Lascaux Cave Star Map

Year Created: c.17,000 BCE
Country of Origin: near Montignac, France
Creator: Unknown
Area Depicted: Area around Abauntz Lamizulo cave and animals such as red deer and ibex

photo source: ancient-wisdom.com

The prehistoric paintings found in Lascaux caves are some of the most beautiful and well-known pieces of art left by our ancestors. There are thousands of figures of animals, humans, and abstract signs in the paintings and many interpretations of what the paintings represent have been presented over the years. One of the more recent theories suggests that some of the paintings may have been prehistoric star maps.

According to German researcher Dr. Michael Rappenglueck of the University of Munich, some of dots in the area of the paintings known as the Shaft of the Dead Man correspond with constellations such as Taurus, the Pleiades, and the Summer Triangle. Another researcher, Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez, believes that the Great Hall depicts an extensive star map with key points on major figures corresponding to stars in the main constellations from the Paleolithic.

1. Mammoth Tusk Map

Year Created: c.25,000 BCE
Country of Origin: Pavlov, Czech Republic
Creator: Unknown
Materials Used: Engraved mammoth tusk
Area Depicted: Mountains, rivers, valleys, and routes around ancient Pavlov

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The mammoth tusk map from the village of Pavlov in the Czech Republic is believed to be the oldest known map in the world. While archaeologists aren’t completely sure, the markings on the tusk may have depicted the landscape of Pavlov at the time. Researchers also think that the mammoth tusk was used as a hunting map.

The curved markings are thought to represent the Dyje (Thaya) river. There are also symbols that show clay slopes that disappeared in the 20 th century after being used to make a brick kiln. The map also shows the foothills where the river met the clay slopes and is represented by a double circle. The original mammoth tusk map is stored in the Archaeological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Brno.

The Subarctic

The Subarctic culture area, mostly composed of swampy, piney forests (taiga) and waterlogged tundra, stretched across much of inland Alaska and Canada. Scholars have divided the region’s people into two language groups: the Athabaskan speakers at its western end, among them the Tsattine (Beaver), Gwich’in (or Kuchin) and the Deg Xinag (formerly𠅊nd pejoratively—known as the Ingalik), and the Algonquian speakers at its eastern end, including the Cree, the Ojibwa and the Naskapi.

In the Subarctic, travel was difficult—toboggans, snowshoes and lightweight canoes were the primary means of transportation𠅊nd population was sparse. In general, the peoples of the Subarctic did not form large permanent settlements instead, small family groups stuck together as they traipsed after herds of caribou. They lived in small, easy-to-move tents and lean-tos, and when it grew too cold to hunt they hunkered into underground dugouts.

The growth of the fur trade in the 17th and 18th centuries disrupted the Subarctic way of life—now, instead of hunting and gathering for subsistence, the Indians focused on supplying pelts to the European traders𠅊nd eventually led to the displacement and extermination of many of the region’s native communities.


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Lexile Measure 1170L
Mean Sentence Length 18.12
Mean Log Word Frequency 3.38
Word Count 453

Mr. Donn has an excellent website that includes a section on Native Americans.

The coastline of Beringia during the last Ice Age. The Hubbard Glacier is in eastern Alaska and part of Yukon, Canada. The wooly mammoth went extinct about 11,500 years ago, but these and other large mammals attracted hunters to the land bridge that led to North America. Kon-Tiki was the raft used by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in his 1947 expedition across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands. Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl (1914 – 2002) sailed 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in the Kon-Tiki. Heyerdahl’s expedition demonstrated that long sea voyages were possible in ancient times.


The main source of funding for this research was a grant from the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society. Additional sources included a Carleton University Startup Grant and travel funds provided by the Inuit Heritage Trust for mapping of place names. Some of the work done in Iglulik and Cape Dorset received support from an IPY Canada grant (Project ISIUOP), and from NSTP (Northern Scientific Training Program). The Igloolik Research Centre (Nunavut Research Institute) provided considerable support during most of this research. John MacDonald and his wife Carolyn were exceptional hosts in Iglulik. John also provided critical help in the organization of the trip to Naujaat, and he offered crucial feedback and constructive critique on earlier drafts of this paper. Conversations with John through many years helped developed some of the ideas expressed in this paper. A key person in this research was Maurice Arnatsiaq, who guided the trip between Iglulik and Naujaat, aided with interviews and mapping, and helped me understand the importance of Inuit travel. Several elders in all the communities the research took place collaborated in providing geographic information. Of those, the key participants were Herve Paniaq in Iglulik, and Abraham Tagunak and Maliki in Naujaat. Theo Ikummaq, in Iglulik, also provided critical information and helped with interviews and translations. This research also benefited from the work of several graduate and undergraduate students at Carleton University who helped with data collection (Kelly Karpalla and Karen Kelley) and data analysis (Allison Berman, Ana Fonseca and Andrew Black). Timothy Di Leo Browne helped in editing this paper. Finally, I would like to thank the reviewers of the journal, whose critiques and suggestions made this paper better.

Ancient Chinese texts

The texts we worked on are the Mawangdui medical manuscripts, which were lost to us for two millenia. They were written during the Han dynasty and were so valued that a copy was buried with the body of Lady Dai, a Han dynasty aristocrat in 168 BCE. The tombs of Lady Dai and her family were opened in 1973, and the Mawangdui manuscripts were discovered.

They are clearly precursors to the famous acupuncture texts of the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine (Huangdi Neijing), which was copied and recopied through history, and is revered in China as the source of acupuncture theory and practice. The descriptions of meridians and points found in it are still the basis of traditional Chinese medicine today.

The earlier Mawangdui texts don’t actually mention acupuncture points, and the descriptions they give of meridians are simpler and less complete. But some passages from them have clearly been directly copied into the Yellow Emperor’s Canon, all of which shows that these texts were written first.

Illustration of traditional Chinese medicine. Wikimedia Commons

Meridian pathways have always been interpreted as being based on esoteric ideas about the flow of vital energy “Qi” rather than as empirical descriptions of the body. But what the Mawangdui text describes is a set of meridians – pathways through the body. In later texts, these are usually illustrated pictorially as lines on the skin.

A meridian is described in terms of how it progresses through the body. The arm tai yin meridian, for instance, is described as starting in the centre of the palm, running along the forearm between the two bones, and so on. We wondered: what if these descriptions are not of an esoteric energy pathway, but of physical anatomical structures?

Politics and Government

Traditional Inuit maintained a large degree of individual freedom, surprising in a society that depended greatly on cooperative behavior for survival. Partnerships and non-kin alliances became crucial during hunting seasons and during wars and feuds, but it was mostly based on the nuclear or extended family unit. When bands came together, they were more geographical than political in nature, and while leaders or umialik were important in hunting, their power was not absolute. The social fabric of Inuit society changed forever in the twentieth century, though the people have avoided the reservation system. Natives themselves, such as the Inupiat of Barrow and Shungnak voted against establishing the reservations that formed all over America in the 1930s.

During the mid-twentieth century, there was a great deal of competition for once-native lands, both from the private and public sector. In 1932 a petroleum reserve in the north was set aside, and then developed by the Navy and later by private

After their success against Project Chariot, Natives began to organize in a concerted way to protect their lands. In 1961, various village leaders formed the Inupiat Paitot (The People's Heritage Movement) to protect Inupiat lands. In 1963 the Northwest Alaska Native Association was formed under the leadership of Willie Hensley, later a state senator. The Arctic Slope Association was formed in 1966. Both associations mirrored the activities of the statewide Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) which lobbied for Native rights and claims. Local villages and organizations throughout the state were filing claims for land not yet ceded to the government. In 1968, with Congress beginning to review the situation, oil was discovered on the North Slope. Oil companies wanted to pipe the oil out via the port of Valdez, and negotiations were soon underway to settle Inuit and other Native claims.

The result was the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which created 12 regional for-profit corporations throughout the state. These corporations had title to surface and mineral rights of some 44 million acres. Additionally, Natives would receive $962.5 million in compensation for the 335 million acres of the state which they no longer claimed. Thus, the way was paved for the construction of the Alaska pipeline.

As a result of ANCSA, all Alaskans with at least one-quarter Native blood would receive settlement money that would be managed by regional and village corporations. Alaskan Inuit villages then organized into several corporations in hopes of taking advantage of the opportunities of this legislation. Amendments in 1980 to the Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act restoring Native rights to subsistence hunting and fishing, and in 1988, ensuring Native control of corporations, helped equalize ANCSA legislation. As of the 1990s, however, few of these corporations have managed to reach financial stability, and at least four have reported losses since 1971.

Inuit groups organized in the 1970s to see that high schools were built in their villages. In the Barrow region, local schools broke away from the Bureau of Indian Affairs administration and formed local boards of education more amenable to the teaching of Inupiaq language, history, and customs. The North Slope Borough, formed in 1972, took over school administration in 1975, and the Northwest Arctic Borough, formed in 1986, did the same. These regional political structures are further sub-divided into villages with elected mayors and city councils. Slowly the Inuit of northern Alaska are trying to reclaim their heritage in the modern world.

Ancient routes of the Inuit mapped for the first time - History

S panning one-ninth of the earth's circumference across three continents, the Roman Empire ruled a quarter of humanity through complex networks of political power, military domination and economic exchange. These extensive connections were sustained by premodern transportation and communication technologies that relied on energy generated by human and animal bodies, winds, and currents.

Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity.

For the first time, ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity.

Taking account of seasonal variation and accommodating a wide range of modes and means of transport, ORBIS reveals the true shape of the Roman world and provides a unique resource for our understanding of premodern history.

What is ORBIS, and what does it do? Start with this short introduction to learn more about our project.

What can you expect of ORBIS? Discussion of three key features will help you appreciate the capabilities and limits of our model.

How was ORBIS designed and what is the basis of the model? This section describes the historical data and information technology that guide our simulations.

The network map of the Roman Empire is the centerpiece of this site. After familiarizing yourself with the model's structure and functionality, use the map to explore the ancient world.

ORBIS has been created to foster new ways of studying the ancient world. This section presents scholarship supported by our model.

In the aggregate, our model simulations make it possible to reconfigure conventional maps of the Roman Empire to express the relative cost of transfers from or to a central point as distance. This perspective captures the structural properties of the imperial system as a whole by identifying the relative position of particular elements of the network and illustrating the impact of travel speed and especially transport prices on overall connectivity. Distance cartograms show that due to massive cost differences between aquatic and terrestrial modes of transport, peripheries were far more remote from the center in terms of price than in terms of time.

Due to an unexpectedly high volume of traffic to the site, performance of the routing map and interactive cartogram are not what they should be. If you experience delays performing route calculations or rendering the map, you can try refreshing the map by zooming in or out. Please do return next week -- these issues should be entirely solved by then. We are very sorry for any inconvenience!

Ancient routes of the Inuit mapped for the first time - History

On January 24th, 2012, the History Group made a visit to the Hampshire Records Office in Winchester, where archivist Mark Pitchforth gave a talk on Maps as a source of local history. Before the talk, we had an opportunity to examine a selection of old maps of East Meon which Mark had laid out for us.

These are the notes for Mark Pitchforth’s talk..

Maps – general

Maps are a very good starting-point for the local historian because
•they’re a familiar source which we use in our daily lives so they are not as ‘remote’ as some historical documents can sometimes seem
•they don’t usually pose language or handwriting problems which can occur with other documents.
•And importantly they are a useful source to set the scene and put other records into their topographical context.
• maps are often made with a particular purpose in mind and so won’t necessarily show the whole landscape but only those aspects of it which were integral to their purpose. They cannot be compared with photos and all maps should be placed into their historical context whenever they are used so that you are clear as to why they might include or exclude certain info.

Local maps have a number of different uses They are useful for landscape history and the history of individual features within the landscape, such as buildings
they can also be used to show the development of communications, especially roads, railways and canals and they provide graphic documentary evidence for some major historical changes such as the agrarian revolution, the industrial revolution, the growth of urbanisation and development of suburbs. They can also be used by family historians who want to find out where their ancestors lived and can help to identify very local place-names.

In addition to their historical uses, some of our maps are consulted for more practical reasons such as boundary or rights of way disputes. Most of the maps held by Hampshire Record Office relate to Hampshire but not exclusively so. Maps for places outside Hampshire come to us with private archives, for example when a Hampshire family or institution held estates outside the county. Until the 16th century, maps were extremely rare and the idea of producing a graphic image of a place, was quite a radical and new idea. The earliest local maps date from this period. For Hampshire they tend to be of Portsmouth, which was strategically the most significant place in the county.

County Maps
The first local administrative unit to be mapped was the county. There are a great number of county maps between the 16th and 19th centuries but of these, only five were drawn from an original survey. All the others are to some extent copies of these surveys with more or less additional detail added to them.

This is Christopher Saxton’s map of Hampshire, 1575
•It was published with 34 other county maps in the first national atlas ever to be produced, in 1579.
•It is highly decorative but some features such as roads are completely lacking
But although more pictorial than detailed, this map can still be useful:
•the bridges suggest the location of at least some roads
•and the sites of churches and chapels indicates the main places of settlement at that date
Another noted 16th-century map maker was John Norden, whose Hampshire map is dated 1595. Norden employed
•referenced symbols for features on his maps
•he was the first English mapmaker to publish triangular tables indicating the distances between places
•and his maps are the first to show administrative boundaries within the county such as those for the hundreds.
But you can see that the detail on Norden’s map is very similar to that shown on Saxton’s earlier map.
John Speed’s map which was published in his Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain, 1612 is also highly decorated and rather similar to Saxton’s, but it is
•the first county map to be drawn to a scale (3 miles per inch),
•and, most importantly, it has the first known town plan of Winchester as an inset.

It is not until the 18th century that county maps become more detailed and probably much more accurate because by that time the science of triangulation (a system of measurement) had been more fully developed. The most important mid 18th century map-maker was Isaac Taylor whose Hampshire map is dated 1759. This map is also highly decorated but there is far more detail than in the earlier ones, showing as it does not only settlements but also…
•specific features in the landscape
•lines of communication
•parks and commons
•and industrial sites including 190 watermills.

The next important survey of Hampshire was made between 1788 and 1790 by Thomas Milne who produced an extremely detailed map. Particularly useful are
•the names of landowners
•the annotation about the progress of enclosure
•and notes on land use and industrial sites.
•Lines of communications are more clearly shown on this map e.g roads, canals etc

But you need to exercise a little caution with Milne’s map as sometimes he showed roads and canals which were planned but which had not yet opened and their finished route did not exactly correspond with what he showed!

The last new survey before the emergence of the large scale Ordnance Survey maps of the county was that of Christopher Greenwood and his brother John. They show…
•the change in use of buildings (eg the watermill at Freefolk from paper-making to corn-milling)
•local farm names
•and the change in the spelling of some place-names
•roads, farms, the River Test and the Salisbury-Southampton canal, as well as various individual large houses.

You can view digital copies of many of these county maps on a website entitled ‘Old Hampshire Mapped’.

Ordnance Survey maps

The earliest maps produced by the Ordnance Survey – or OS – were one inch maps derived from larger scale drawings or field surveys now at the British Library, which were compiled 1800-1820.

However the OS maps which are most useful to the local historian are the maps produced later in the century at the larger scales of 6 and 25 inches to the mile. Hampshire’s earliest OS maps were the 6 inch maps of the Aldershot and Portsmouth areas, which were mapped first because these two places were of military and naval importance. But most of the Hampshire maps were produced after about 1868. A book of reference accompanied the first edition 25 inch maps giving the area and land use for each plot, thus supplementing the information on the map itself.

HRO has four editions of the Ordnance Survey county maps:

1st edition produced usually in the 1870s, 2nd edition in c.1898, 3rd edition in c.1909 1911 and 4th edition in the 1920s and 1930s. This slide is of the 3rd ed 25” OS map of East Meon and as you can see it shows buildings clearly and other features in the landscape. These maps are extremely useful in pin pointing very local details and they are probably our most frequently-used maps.

The 6” OS maps are more useful for giving an overview of an area:
•showing parish and district boundaries
•lines of communication
•and the relationship of communities to one another.

But they do also show the principal buildings and features in the landscape, albeit at a smaller scale than on the 25 inch maps.
The 4th ed. was never completed because the OS ran out of money in the slump of the 1930s. However, a new series of maps was produced after the war incorporating the National Grid system of referencing. Hampshire Record Office has continued to collect these National Grid maps in the 6 inch, 25 inch and 50 inch scales. However since the 1980s, the OS have produced digital mapping and to see the most current mapping you need to go either to the OS in Southampton or to one of the copyright libraries, such as the British or Bodleian Library. We have a few print-outs but these are only a tiny proportion of what has been produced.

It might be appropriate to mention here that another complementary source for this post war period are the aerial photographs taken to provide data for mapping. We have a number of later aerial photographs as well and many are in colour.

Tithe maps
Another major source for the local historian are the tithe maps which were produced throughout the country following the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836. Three copies of each map were made. The diocesan (and sometimes also the parish) copy is usually deposited in the local Record Office while the third copy, originally made for the Tithe Commissioners, is now held centrally at the National Archives in London.

There is a tithe map for nearly every parish in the county, showing it at a large scale exactly as it was in c.1840 which is of course before production of the large scale OS maps. This is part of the East Meon tithe map, 1853 and as you can see, plots are individually numbered and a key, known as the tithe award, or tithe text, gives details about each plot including:
•the name of the owner and occupier
•and the land use and area, which is obviously useful for family historians as well as local historians in linking to the first census and showing where people lived.
The one drawback of these awards is that the entries are not in numerical order. They are arranged in alphabetical order by name of landowner.

Tithe maps are very useful for tracing the history of individual properties. They do of course show only those areas which were tithe-able. Lands which are not shown include:
•those exempt from the payment of tithe
•those where the tithes had already been commuted under an earlier agreement
•and lands owned by the tithe owner

This is the reason why there are no tithe maps for the parishes of Southwick or Beaulieu in Hampshire for example, because they were formerly owned by monastic communities and therefore not titheable.

Sometimes tithe maps were altered at a later date if, for example, plots were split up or if the construction of a road or railway altered the area of fields. These changes were incorporated in documents known as altered apportionments of tithe rent-charge which are also often accompanied by a map. These documents can exist for the period from 1836 up to 1936 after which tithe rentcharge payments were finally abolished.

Enclosure Maps

Gaps in the tithe maps can often be filled by enclosure maps which were compiled from the mid-18th century onwards usually as a result of an Act of Parliament. As in the case of the tithe maps, three copies of the enclosure map were drawn, and the Record Office now usually has two of these – the one deposited with the county authorities and often too the parish copy. As with tithe maps, a third copy is held centrally in the National Archives. This slide shows Liss enclosure map and award, 1864.

Unlike tithe maps, enclosure maps do not exist for every parish and may not cover the whole parish but only areas affected by the enclosure of the fields. As with tithe maps, the enclosure maps were made to accompany awards which set out to whom the individual fields were allotted. Sometimes however, the awards stand alone and no separate map was drawn up. These can be difficult to interpret as they are written in prose and there is not necessarily a summary schedule accompanying them.

By using pre-enclosure documentation (the working records of the Commissioners) and the enclosure documents together, as well as the Commissioner’s minutes and other papers, one can really begin to understand the great changes which the enclosure movement brought to the local community.
Very occasionally you will find an enclosure agreement, drawn up between the chief landowners for the enclosure of fields in a particular area. Even more occasionally there will be an accompanying map on such an agreement. This enclosure map for North Stoneham is drawn on an agreement between Richard Fleming, lord of the manor of North Stoneham, and 32 tenants (note their seals and signatures or marks at the bottom of the document) for the enclosure of 604 acres of North Stoneham Common in 1736.
Where you do find enclosure awards and maps, they can be extremely useful to the local historian and student of the historical landscape. They also still have legal validity for:
•establishing rights of common
•settling boundary disputes
•working out the lines of roads and footpaths
•determining liability for fences
•and establishing responsibility for road maintenance.
That is unless the provisions have subsequently been changed by other legal documents.

As with tithe awards, enclosure awards were sometimes amended at a later date and any amendments will have been deposited with the Clerk of the Peace and have now been inherited by the Record Office in such series as the highway diversion orders

Plans of Communications

The Record Office holds many hundreds of maps specifically showing lines of communication, although obviously most maps, except the earliest, will show these incidentally anyway as we have already seen on the county and Ordnance survey maps.

However the earliest maps produced specifically to indicate roads are those of John Ogilby which were conceived for his atlas Britannia first published in 1675. This map shows Ogilby’s map of the London to Southampton road. Selective features along the road were drawn on these maps and distances were marked along the route to help the traveller. At the time of their production this was a revolutionary style of map but in fact it has stood the test of time since later road maps such as this 1814 road map by Mogg of part of the London to Poole road copied this format and many modern motorway maps are actually not very different from this!

Other later road maps have been deposited in the Record Office and we also have some maps of river routes. This map of the River Itchen drawn in 1618 is one of the earliest maps in the Record Office and it was produced to illustrate the report of a Commission of enquiry into the navigability of the river. Whether a map of this sort survives will depend on local circumstances and whether or not particular enquiries and indeed surveys were undertaken.

But by far the most important series of maps of communications are the maps known as deposited plans which are maps ‘deposited’ with the Clerk of the Peace of the county and like the enclosure maps inherited by the County Council. Usually these plans will include a general map such as a one-inch Ordnance Survey map showing the overall route of the undertaking as well as a more specific survey of the route itself. This may include what are known as ‘lines of deviation’ within which the route could deviate and these are shown here on this London to Portsmouth deposited railway plan, 1844.

Deposited plans cover all sorts of communications especially canals, roads, tramways and railways. The series also includes plans of other public undertakings such as tunnels, harbours, piers, and bridges. Our earliest deposited plan is for the Andover and Redbridge canal 1789 but the series continues right up to the twentieth century and there is for example a deposited plan of the Esso refinery pipelines built in the 1960s.

The use of these maps is obvious, especially to the many railway buffs and other experts on transport history. They are also useful to the local historian for as well as showing the engineer’s drawings and proposed line of the route, they also indicate who was to be affected by the proposal. Plots immediately adjacent to the line are numbered and details of these properties are given in an accompanying book of reference. Hampshire Record Office has one set of these maps and there is another set in the House of Lords Record Office deposited with the Acts of Parliament which sanctioned the construction of the particular utility concerned. They can often be supplemented with parliamentary papers and also private papers such as correspondence, petitions and so forth, which indicate how particular schemes affected individuals and families.

Estate Maps
Estate maps – as their name indicates – are usually maps of landed estates such as a manor, a group of manors or simply a single isolated field. There isn’t a map for every estate but conversely there can be several for one estate.

These maps can date from the 16th century although the earliest one in Hampshire Record Office is of Buckland manor in Lymington dated 1611.

As I said earlier, it’s important to understand why any map was drawn so that you can understand why some features were included and others were excluded.

Reasons for compiling estate maps might include:
the need to plan the management of an estate e.g farming
the wish to illustrate an area subject to sale or exchange
or for legal purposes to indicate boundaries, statutory rights, customs and so on.
Many estate maps still remain in private hands as they are sometimes still needed for practical purposes. Others have been retained privately, even when the rest of the estate archive has been deposited, simply because of their decorative appeal.
•Atlas of properties owned by the Mayor, Bailiffs and Commonalty of Winchester, surveyed by W Godson, 1748
• Plan of Nutley manor belonging to Sr. Richard Norton Knight and Baronett, 1635 by John Hudson and Thomas Kingston, Surveyors
•Map of the estate of Edward Horne at Upton Grey, surveyed by William Burgess, 1741

You can use these maps for a variety of different purposes and I am going to show you a few examples to illustrate what I mean.
Here we have a map of part of Winchester showing the Eastgate estate in 1748. It is particularly valuable because it shows what is now an urban setting well before major development. The area is now very different with modern housing, and a completely different road system many of which bear names such as Lawn Street and Garden Lane reflecting the earlier topography. It would obviously be much more difficult to visualise this area in the 18th century without this map especially as it is dated almost a century before photography was invented.

Gardens too are often depicted in detail as this plan dated 1818 of the garden at Herriard House between Basingstoke and Alton illustrates, showing as it does the exact lay out of the property, including fences, trees and ponds. The key to the plan indicates how particular areas of the garden were used – for flower gardens and the kitchen garden, for hothouses, greenhouses and icehouses and for garden ornamentation such as statues. This sort of information has been researched effectively by members of the Hampshire Gardens Trust amongst others to re create historic gardens.

Architectural features can also be studied from estate maps if you are lucky. Sometimes buildings are shown in block but on the earlier maps at least, they are often shown pictorially and sometimes as quite large illustrations. Occasionally a house is drawn as part of the decoration on the map. This detail of Basingstoke Town Hall (now the Willis Museum) is taken from a map of Basingstoke, 1762 and whilst it is hardly a work of art, it does provide useful clues as to the size and shape of the building.
Estate maps are a useful source for the study of farming practice and land use. Arable, woodland and pasture may be shown and sometimes the pre enclosure landscape is depicted with its system of common fields divided into strips as on this map of Berry Hill Farm at Upper Clatford, 1733.

Very often too there are detailed schedules accompanying or actually written onto these maps. Taken together the map and the schedule can provide useful documentation
•About the field system
•About the tenants who lived in the area
•about obligations pertaining to the land (eg road maintenance or the grazing of animals or manorial rights)

Here for example is a Survey of an estate within the parishes of Froxfield and Privett, 1813 with information indicating what all the different numbers mean helping to make more sense of the map.

You also get maps recording the sale of properties. Here for example is a plan prepared for the sale of The Tatchbury Mount Estate, Totton, Netley Marsh (over 660 acres), 1927. An accompanying sale catalogue describes each lot and sometimes you are lucky enough to get photographs of some of the lots. These documents are the modern equivalent of the historic estate maps and their accompanying schedules.

Going back now to a much earlier period, this map of Thurmond’s manor, Winchester was drawn in 1639 and is a useful source for field names. Some of these names have been carried forward into modern street-names (as for example in the case of Long Close and Barn Close here). But if you were asked to identify the exact location and shape of the original field of the same name, you could not do that without a map such as this. We are sometimes asked by local councils to provide historic names for new roads or housing estates and we have tended to use historic maps for our inspiration. This is one of the more unusual uses to which historic maps can be put!

Town plans/street maps

Town plans, including street maps, are not really a separate category of map but in fact could be included in nearly all the classes I have mentioned already. I have referred to the earliest Hampshire town maps, included as insets on Speed’s county maps of the early 17th century – but town areas may also be covered by estate maps and tithe maps. Here for example is the tithe map of Alton showing the town centre.

For the more modern period, you also find street plans dating back to the 18th century in books such as trade directories, town histories and guidebooks. And Ordnance Survey maps are obviously useful for towns as well as for the countryside.

Building Plans
As we have seen, buildings, like towns, may be shown, in outline at least, on many of the types of map I have already mentioned. You can often find information about private buildings when they lie adjacent to a significant public area such as here in this plan for the improvement of Romsey churchyard in 1938 which shows the surrounding houses in addition to the main subject of the plan.

Numerous plans exist of public buildings because they were maintainable by the authorities whose records we tend to have:
•churches were subject to the diocesan faculty regulations
•inns, prisons and the county’s public buildings could not be built or altered without the approval of the county justices
•and workhouses were subject to the Poor law authorities.

As we look after the records of many of these official bodies, so we have acquired a large number of their plans.

Architects’ plans and even sketches, particularly of the grander houses often survive in family archives. From the late 19th century alterations to all property had to be approved by the local authority and a huge number of plans of ordinary properties have come to us from this source.

Remember that proposals shown on documents do not always turn into reality on the ground however even where plans were not carried forward, they show the ideas which led to what actually happened and this can be immensely useful for the building historian

Watch the video: Зимняя рыбалкаинуиты. Winter fishing Inuit (July 2022).


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