Knud Rasmussen and the Thule Expeditions
The Thule Expeditions were a series of polar exploration and research expeditions, that went on in the early 20th century.
The expeditions were led by the famous danish polar explorer Knud Rasmussen. Each expedition had a different set of research goals.
Some focused on geographical issues, while others were dedicated to the ethnographic and archaeological study of Inuit culture.
After each expedition, there were written long reports about the scientific results. But there were also often written books that were meant for the public to read, such as “Fra Grønland til Stillehavet”, describing Knud Rasmussens personal experiences from the 5th Thule expedition.
These accounts from the Thule Expeditions (and other polar expeditions), has been a huge inspirational source for me personally.
If you are going on a trekking or ski expedition with me, there is a fair chance that you might get to hear some more about Knud Rasmussen and the original Thule Expeditions.
Especially if you ask for it!
The archaeology of the 5th Thule Expedition
Writing my master thesis in archaeology, I had the privilege of writing about the archaeological results from the 5th Thule Expedition.
I concluded that the archaeological results from 5th Thule Expedition, still provides the foundation for the understanding and definition of the Inuit culture called the “Thule Culture”.
Therefore, the results from this expedition, is still widely referred to in scientific articles and magazines today.
So even though the scientific results have had a huge importance for their respective fields of study, in my very subjective opinion, the Thule Expeditions greatest value lies in their ability to inspire us to go out on our own expeditions!
Therefore, it seems that these expeditions that happened a century ago, are still in many ways live today.
As an Arctic Nature Guide and Archaeologist with speciality in Inuit culture, I am aiming to continue leading more Thule Expeditions!
Although these new Thule Expeditions are adapted into a modern format and structure.
In my opinion, it will forever be impossible to recreate the original Thule Expeditions.
However as Knud Rasmussen said "the adventure always waits for the one who understands to take it".
To my mind this could very well have meant "there are always new Thule Expeditions to be done by the one who understands how to do them".