Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Social Science Archaeology

Ancient People of the Arctic

by (author) Robert McGhee

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2001
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2001
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1996
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Ancient People of the Arctic traces the lives of the Palaeo-Eskimos, the bold first explorers of the Arctic. Four thousand years ago, these people entered the far northern extremes of the North American continent, carving a living out of their bleak new homeland. From the hints they left behind, accessible only through the fragmented archaeological record, Robert McGhee ingeniously reconstructs a picture of this life at the margins. He discusses how the Palaeo-Eskimos spread across the entire Arctic, explains how they dealt with sharp climate changes that drastically altered their environment, offers glimpses into their spiritual practices and world view, and speculates about their eventual demise.

About the author

John Ralston Saul is an essayist and novelist. Winner of the Governor General’s Award for The Unconscious Civilization, he has published more than twelve books. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Robert McGhee's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Ancient People of the Arctic is the most comprehensive book on the prehistory of the Paleo-Eskimos to date. It’s food for thought that could give us the sense of history and place we so badly need.

Vancouver Sun

Reconstructing their migration and their daily lives from perfectly preserved and house remains and artifacts, McGhee paints a fascinating portrait, enhancing it with dozens of maps, drawings, and photographs of Paleo-Eskimo sites, tools, and decorative art.

Coast Independent

A vibrant celebration of the artistic and cultural vision of the early peoples.

Canadian Geographic

Other titles by Robert McGhee

Inuit Modern

Masterworks from the Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection

edited by Gerald McMaster
by (author) Dorothy Eber, Bernadette Engelstad, Ingo Hessel, Heather Igloliorte, Zacharias Kunuk, Christine Lalonde, Robert McGhee, David Piqtoukun & Alootook Ipellie
afterword by John Ralston Saul

Archaeology on the Edge

New Perspectives from the Northern Plains

edited by Jane H. Kelley
contributions by Brian Kooyman, Jack W. Brink, J.F. Dormaar, H.V. Hills, Jane Kelley, Alison Landals, Robert McGhee, Paul McNeil, Gerald A. Oetelaar, Trevor R. Peck, Scott Raymond, Elizabeth Robertson, M. Shayne Tolman, J. Rod Vickers, Dale Walde & Michael C. Wilson

The Last Imaginary Place

A Human History of the Artctic World

by (author) Robert McGhee

Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher

An Elizabethan Adventure

by (author) Robert McGhee

The Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher

An Elizabethan Adventure

by (author) Robert McGhee

Beluga Hunters

An Archaeological Reconstruction of the History and Culture of the Mackenzie Delta Kittegaryumiut

by (author) Robert McGhee

The Thule Village at Brooman Point, High Arctic Canada

by (author) Robert McGhee

Archaeological Survey of Canada Annual Review 1980-1981 / Commission archéologique du Canada, rapports annuels 1980-1981

edited by Robert McGhee

The Dorset Occupations in the Vicinity of Port Refuge, High Arctic Canada

by (author) Robert McGhee


A Thule Culture Site on Bathurst Island, Northwest Territories, Canada

by (author) William Ewart Taylor & Robert McGhee