Friday, April 27, 2018

"Ilulissat cemetery, Arctic Circle, Greenland" by K.J.S.Chatrath


An indicative sketch map of the world showing the location of Ilulisat in Greenland. 

Gate and a symbolic wooden fence of the old cemetery, Ilulissat.

Some time back I had put up a photo article on the southern most christian cemetery visted by me - Ushuaia in Argentina. The cemetery at Ilulissat is the northern most christian cemetery that I have visited.

Ilulissat is a small town located on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle. This town has two cemeteries, the old on which is located near the Icefiord and the new cemetery which is just short of its airport. All the photos below are from the old cemetery, except the last one which depicts the new cemetery.


Lars Ove L. Lundblad
*5.2.1966, + 27.12.1982


In the background, one can see ice blocks floating in water of the Ilulissat icefiord.



Manasse Pavia Svane
*8.8.1959, +7.12.1981


In general use is the simple white wooden cross. However there are a small number of  grave stones with inscriptions.


* 19.11.1916, + 17.12.1977


Benigne K.F. Thor
In 5 Febr. 1907 - Tok 31 Juli, 1980.


 Magdaline M.D.A. Peterson
In 20.9.1909, Tok 1980.


A view of the new cemetery.

Visit to this cemetery in the arctic circle has made me think about the decompositon of buried dead  human bodies. We know of the discovery of a number of frozen mummies in very good level of preservation, in the Peruvian Andes on perma-snowtops of mountains. Some of these mummies  which I saw a year back in the museums in Peru, are said to be dating back to the 15th century. 

In India too, a large number of human dead bodies, some of those in a remarkable state of ppreservation have been discovered in the frozen Roopkund lake at a height of over 14,000 feet in the Garwhal himalayas. A few years back, I made an attempt to reach that place had could not handle the last day of the trek up, while the rest of the Group, in the age group of thirties, reached the lake and came back the same day to where I was waiting.

However the frozen mummies of Peru and of Roopkund lake are the bodies which were frozen in snow. Generally the bodies buried in the tropical regions almost fully decompose within a year and only the bones remain. One wonders how much time  is  taken by the bodies buried in the earth in the arctic region to decompose. May be some learned reader would throw light on it.
Photographs, text and copyright by K.J.S.Chatrath.
This post was put up earlier on  July 6, 2012 in my website

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