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Ammassalik wooden maps

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Island map (left) and coast map (right)
Island map (left) and coast map (right)

Ammassalik wooden maps are carved, tactile maps of the Greenlandic coastlines. In the 1880s, Gustav Holm led an expedition to the Ammassalik coast of eastern Greenland, where he met several Tunumiit, or Eastern Greenland Inuit communities, who had had no prior direct contact with Europeans. He returned to Denmark with a set of three-dimensional wooden maps of the coast around 66°N 36°W / 66°N 36°W / 66; -36Coordinates: 66°N 36°W / 66°N 36°W / 66; -36, carved by a native of Umivik named Kunit.


Kunit approached Holm on February 8, 1885, and sold the maps representing the coast from Sermiligak to Kangerdlugsuatsiak. Kunit returned on March 21 with another piece representing the peninsula between Sermiligak and Kangerdluarsikajik.[1]

Upon Holm's return, the maps were deposited along with the rest of the collection at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. As of 1948 the maps were still in Copenhagen; copies were deposited in the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro in Paris.[2] At some point the maps were transferred to the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk, which was established in the mid-1960s.[3] Woodward & Lewis (1998) write that the "only other known example" of such a map is a specimen at the Michigan State University museum — item 896.7, 62154 — which is probably a copy of Kunit's work.[4]

In 2000, Post Greenland issued a stamp designed by Anne-Birthe Hove featuring the coastal map, as part of its "Greenland's Cultural Heritage" series.[5] The Greenland National Museum loaned out the maps for a 2007-8 exhibition at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago entitled Maps: Finding Our Place in the World,[6] which also traveled to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.[7]


Description given by Kunit to Holm[8] Sølver[9] Elkins[10] Notes
1 Sardlermiut, on the west side of which is the site of an old settlement[11] 66°13′N 35°32′W / 66.21°N 35.53°W / 66.21; -35.53
2 Nepinerkit (from napavok), having the shape of a pyramid[12] 66°07′N 35°34′W / 66.12°N 35.57°W / 66.12; -35.57
3 Ananak, having the site of an old settlement on the southwest point[13] 66°06′N 35°38′W / 66.10°N 35.64°W / 66.10; -35.64 Others give the name Ananak to the cape on the mainland directly opposite, calling the island Kajartalik.[8]
4 Aputitek 66°02′N 35°38′W / 66.03°N 35.63°W / 66.03; -35.63 66°01′N 35°52′W / 66.02°N 35.87°W / 66.02; -35.87 Sølver's label is closer to the bottom part of the third island than it is to the fourth island.[14]
5 Itivdlersuak 66°01′N 35°46′W / 66.01°N 35.76°W / 66.01; -35.76 Unidentified[15]
6 Kujutilik 65°58′N 35°55′W / 65.97°N 35.91°W / 65.97; -35.91 66°01′N 35°46′W / 66.01°N 35.76°W / 66.01; -35.76
7 Sikivitik 65°55′N 36°01′W / 65.92°N 36.02°W / 65.92; -36.02 Unidentified[15]
A Itivdlek, where there are remains of a house[16] 66°19′N 34°51′W / 66.32°N 34.85°W / 66.32; -34.85 66°18′N 35°28′W / 66.30°N 35.47°W / 66.30; -35.47 Sølver identifies this feature with Cape Wandel.[9]
B Sierak, a small fjord, in which salmon are found[17] 66°19′N 35°13′W / 66.32°N 35.22°W / 66.32; -35.22 66°19′N 35°29′W / 66.32°N 35.48°W / 66.32; -35.48 Sølver identifies this feature with the fjord Nigertusok, or possibly with the point of land at its elbow.[9]
C Sarkarmiut, where there are remains of a house[16] 66°16′N 35°11′W / 66.27°N 35.19°W / 66.27; -35.19 66°18′N 35°32′W / 66.30°N 35.53°W / 66.30; -35.53 Sølver identifies this feature with Cape Japetus Steenstrup.[9]
D Kangerdlugsuatsiak, a fjord of such length that a kayak can not even in a whole day row from the mouth to the head of the fjord and back again[18] 66°15′N 35°21′W / 66.25°N 35.35°W / 66.25; -35.35 66°17′N 35°39′W / 66.29°N 35.65°W / 66.29; -35.65 Sølver places this feature on the fjord marked Sarkarmiut in the map.[9] Elkins places it farther inland.[10]
E Erserisek, a little fjord[19] 66°14′N 35°34′W / 66.24°N 35.57°W / 66.24; -35.57 66°14′N 35°37′W / 66.23°N 35.62°W / 66.23; -35.62 Sølver and Elkins almost agree on this feature; Elkins places the label farther inland, while Sølver includes part of the Odesund.[9][10]
F Nutugkat, a little fjord with a creek at the bottom[20] 66°08′N 35°40′W / 66.13°N 35.67°W / 66.13; -35.67
G Merkeriak, kayak portage from Nutugkat to Erserisek along the bank of the creek, when the heavy ice blocks the headland between the two fjords[21] 66°13′N 35°46′W / 66.21°N 35.77°W / 66.21; -35.77
H Ikerasakitek, a bay in which the land ice goes straight out to the sea[22]
I Kangerajikajik, a cape[23]
J Kavdlunak, a bay into which runs a creek[24]
K Apusinek, a long stretch where the land ice passes out into the sea.[25]
L Tatorisik
M Iliartalik, a fjord with a smaller creek[26]
N Nuerniakat
O Kugpat
P Igdluarsik
Q Sangmilek, a little fjord with a creek[27]
R Nutugkat
S Amagat
T Kangerdluarsikajik, a smaller fjord[28]
U Kernertuarsik

Related maps


  1. ^ Holm 1886, p. 104.
  2. ^ Bagrow 1948, p. 92.
  3. ^ "Kalaallisut". Archived from the original on 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  4. ^ Woodward & Lewis 1998, p. 168.
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Maps: Finding Our Place in the World: All About Maps". Archived from the original on 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-07-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b Mallery 1893, p. 346.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Sølver 1954, p. 189.
  10. ^ a b c Elkins 1999, p. 227.
  11. ^ "paa hvis Vestside der findes en gammel Boplads" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  12. ^ "(af napavok). der har Form som en Pyramide" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  13. ^ "der har en gammel Boplads paa SV.-Pynten" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  14. ^ Sølver 1954, p. 188.
  15. ^ a b "I have not been able to identify two of the islands that are named in the original source." (Elkins 1999, p. 225)
  16. ^ a b "hvor der er Rester af et Hus" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  17. ^ "en mindre Fjord, hvori der findes Lax" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  18. ^ "en Fjord, hvis Længde er saa stor, at en Kajak netop paa en Dag kan ro fra Mundingen ind til Fjordens Inderste og tilbage igjen" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  19. ^ "en lille Fjord" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  20. ^ "en lille Fjord med Bræ i Bunden" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  21. ^ Overbærersted for Kajak fra Nutugkat til Erserisek langs med Randen af Bræen, naar Storisen spærrer ved Næsset mellem de to Fjorde (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  22. ^ "en Bugt, i hvilken Landisen gaar lige ud til Havet" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  23. ^ "et Forbjerg" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  24. ^ "en Bugt, hvor ud i der kommer en Bræ" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  25. ^ "en lang Strækning, hvor Landisen gaar ud til Havet" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  26. ^ "en Fjord med en mindre Bræ" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  27. ^ "en lille Fjord med Bræ" (Holm 1888, Table 41)
  28. ^ "en mindre Fjord" (Holm 1888, Table 41)


Further reading

  • Leithäuser, Joachim G. (1958), Mappae Mundi, Die geistige Eroberung der Welt, Berlin: Safari-Verlag, p. 20
  • Harvey, P. D. A. (1980), The history of topographical maps : symbols, pictures and surveys, London: Thames & Hudson, ISBN 978-0-500-24105-9
  • Christian Berthelsen; Inger Holbech Mortensen; Ebbe Mortensen; W. Glyn Jones, eds. (1990), Kalaallit Nunaat Greenland Atlas, Copenhagen: Pilersuiffik, p. 1
This page was last edited on 18 December 2019, at 07:23
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