Landscape Agency and Evenki-Iakut Reindeer Husbandry Along the Zhuia River, Eastern Siberia

David G. Anderson, Evgenii M. Ineshin, Natalia V. Kulagina, Mika Lavento, Oksana P. Vinkovskaya

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This interdisciplinary study applies a series of environmental tests developed in Fennoscandia to elaborate the patterns created by contemporary and past reindeer husbandry along the Zhuia River, Bodaibo district, Irkutsk oblast', Russian Federation. We successfully used pollen and fungal spore analysis to document the long-term use of one site by ungulates-although it remains unclear if these animals were 'domestic' reindeer or not. The date of occupation could go as far back as the fourteenth century. The on-site phosphate analysis, attempted for the first time in Eastern Siberia, proved a useful tool for locating the sites of animal action although failed to specify the boundaries of that action. It did emphasise the importance of accounting for the agency of wind in ordering reindeer behaviour. Finally, the combined phosphate, botanical, and pollen work documented a history of succession of types of land-use from the hunting of Rangifer, to holding Rangifer, to the maintenance of meadows for horses or cattle, to the formation of cereal crops and vegetable patches. The combined use of these methods and a discussion of the ambiguities they produced suggests that they are best employed to find distinctive sites in the landscape which attract both people and animals and are less effective in documenting a Euro-American vision of trust or domination in human-animal relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-266
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Ecology
Early online date25 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Siberia
  • Evenki
  • reindeer
  • pastoralism
  • landscape
  • ethnography
  • pollen
  • phosphate
  • history of science


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