Pre-Dorset culture, 2000-500 BCE, represents the first occupation of arctic North America by Palaeoeskimos. These people, probably related biologically and culturally to the Inuit, may have crossed Bering Strait from Siberia shortly before 2000 BC and then spread rapidly across arctic Canada and Greenland. Lacking much of the technology that allowed the more recent Inuit to adapt to arctic conditions, they nevertheless developed a successful way of life based on the hunting of seals and other small sea mammals, caribou, muskoxen and small game. They lived in temporary settlements of tents and perhaps snowhouses. Their tools and weapons had remarkably small cutting edges chipped from stone, which has led archaeologists to refer to Pre-Dorset culture and the related Denbigh Flint Complex in Alaska as the "Arctic Small Tool tradition." Pre-Dorset developed into Dorset Culture around 500 BCE.

See also Prehistory.