Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dorset Palaeoeskimo Snow Goggles

One of the Dorset goggle eyepieces
One of the things that I like about making artifact reproductions is that it often shows that people in the past weren't so different from people today.  By making and using the same tools from the same materials you feel connected to the individuals who made the originals hundreds or thousands of years ago.  But sometimes an artifact comes up that reminds you of the differences, too.  These snow goggles were like that.  They are based on artifacts from a cave site in Port au Choix, Newfoundland and Labrador and I love the look of them.  They aren't like later Thule or Inuit snow goggles and I don't know of any other snow goggles from this culture or time period.  When The Rooms asked me to make a pair to use in hands-on programming I was happy at the prospect of seeing the world through Palaeoeskimo goggles.   I copied the original artifacts exactly and laced them together like the larger Inuit goggles shown below.  But when I tried them on, they didn't fit at all.  Imagine my disappointment when they didn't work on my face.  Instead of sitting comfortably on my nose and temples, the rested firmly on my eyeballs.  There might be missing pieces that would make them fit correctly, but I don't think so.  I think the problem is the shape of my skull.  They may have fit comfortably on a Palaeoeskimo person, but they don't work at all on my narrow, pointy Caucasian face.

Dorset Palaeoeskimo snow goggles in the middle, bone reproductions above and below

Inuit snow goggles above the Dorset Palaeoeskimo artifacts

Notice how flat the Dorset goggles are compared to the Inuit goggles

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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