This paper examines Holocene tends in subsistence practices through the examination of archaeological faunal remains from the Bugul'deika II habitation site on the west shore of Lake Baikal, Russian Federation. This data indicates that the primary focus of subsistence activities at the site in almost all periods was the hunting of Baikal seals (Phoca sibirica). While some deer and other fauna are represented in most cultural layers, they appear to be supplementary resources throughout the Early and Middle Holocene period of site use. By ∼2900 cal. BP, domesticated ungulates appear at the site, and become increasingly more relatively abundant through time. Humans using the site during these periods also continued to use wild fauna, particularly Baikal seals. Yearlings and other juveniles were the most commonly taken seals at the site, and most were killed in the late winter or early spring when the lake was ice covered. The overall pattern of fauna use at the site is very similar to that at other sites located on the open shoreline of Lake Baikal, but contrasts sharply with fauna use at sites located along the Little Sea shoreline of the lake, which focuses of littoral fish. Finally, while Middle Holocene human cemeteries in the study area have abundant remains of deer, and stable isotope data on human remains from them indicate some dietary reliance on such herbivores, remains of deer are not found in abundance in any local habitation site.
Bibliographical noteThe funding for this research was provided by a Social Science and Humanities Major Collaborative Research grant (412–2011-1001) to the Baikal Hokkaido Archaeological Project directed by Dr. A. Weber, who is especially acknowledge for logistical and financial support for this research. The authors would like to thank all participants of the Russian-Canadian expeditions at Bugul'deika II, particularly graduate and undergraduate students from the Irkutsk State University (especially E. O. Korshunov and E.N. Bocharova), as well as geoarchaeologist Dr. G.A. Vorob'eva and her team, and grade school and high school participants from the Child and Teenager Center of Tourism and Heritage Studies (supervised by V.V. Altukhov).
- Lake Baikal
- Baikal seal