About the project

THE NOW PROJECT: Living Resources and Human Societies around the North Water in the Thule Area, NW Greenland

The project aims at uncovering the dynamic relations between the living resources and the hunting societies of the Thule area in a long-term perspective by integrating archaeological, biological, and anthropological perspectives. The regional focus is on the North Water (NOW) situated in northernmost Baffin Bay, being a so-called high Arctic oasis – a polynya –making life possible in an otherwise deep-frozen world.

While constituting an oasis of open water, NOW is circumscribed by the sea-ice during a substantial part of the year. Life by the polynya is premised as much by the presence of the ice and the ice edge, as by the open water. During the last decades the extent and volume of the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean have declined drastically in a seemingly irreversible process. This has profound impacts on animal populations and on the communities facing severe instabilities in their resource base.

This project responds to the urgent need to understand the dynamic relationships between the important marine game and bird populations and the human subsistence strategies in the polynya area. The project combines biological, archaeological, and anthropological perspectives on these issues in both a contemporary and a long-term perspective. Concomitantly, it contributes to fundamental research on the dynamics of High Arctic ecology and subsistence, and will eventually facilitate informed decision-making in times of drastic political, environmental, and social changes.