The Landscape Ethnoecology of Eastern Siberia Reindeer Herders

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


This paper focuses on the way Eastern Siberia reindeer herders employ 'interstitial' ecological categories. Our preliminary results have identified the possible existence of anthropogenetic meadows that to 1000 years BP, at least 700 years predating the arrival of Russians to the region. The pollen diagrams from the region typically create an ambiguous response. In particular, all three sites surveyed demonstrated a 'paradoxical' rise in meadow species that each prefer wet and dry environments, while set within a context where shrubs are in retreat. A shift in emphasis from the pastoral relation to a description of the domestic environment helps to resolve these ambiguities. A meadow might be 'opened' first by some physical action and then might attract wild reindeer or moose. Hunters might mimic this process and deliberately widen or create new meadows in order to attract animals. Rather than describing an evolutionary schema of the taming of one animal, attention on emplaced relationships show how the same intuition harbours relationships between wild or tame reindeer, or multiple domestic species. An understanding of complex landscape categories such as the ecotope, 'paradoxical' plant communities, or an the interstitial term point to places that are good for holding reindeer - and perhaps other species.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event12th Nordic Theoretical Archaeology TAG Conference - Oulu, Finland
Duration: 25 Apr 201228 Apr 2012


Conference12th Nordic Theoretical Archaeology TAG Conference


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