Mari Kleist - Archaeologist

Mari Kleist


Mari was born and raised in Nuuk. She is the first Greenlander to obtain a PhD in archaeology.

Mari grew up in a traditional Greenlandic family. She speaks her native language—Greenlandic—and is fluent in Danish and English. She has recently started taking French lessons. She has a strong connection to the land and is an avid explorer.

Mari started her career as an elementary school teacher, and has authored and illustrated a children’s book. With a growing interest in Greenlandic history and prehistory she switched her focus to archaeology. She is now an experienced Arctic archaeologist, and over the past decade has worked on field projects across Canada and Greenland. She undertook her Master’s research at Memorial University in Newfoundland & Labrador, which focused on Inuit material culture and examined childhood and learning in pre-colonial Greenland.

For her doctoral research, which was undertaken at the University of Copenhagen, Mari examined various artistic carvings produced by the pre-Inuit Dorset people, exploring the role of these carvings in Dorset social life. Mari lectures in Arctic archaeology and the prehistory of Greenland at the University of Greenland in Nuuk. She has a strong interest in the colonial effects on Greenlandic society, and has recently worked as the head of secretariat for the Greenland Reconciliation Commission. She is currently an independent researcher and lives in Brussels, Belgium.