Understanding past activities of pastoral nomadic Nenets from Western Siberia using a geoarchaeological toolkit

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Abstract

Nomadic Nenets people from Yamal peninsula (Siberia) were and still are dependent on reindeer herding, which provides them with food, tools, clothes, transport, and trade goods.
Herding activity in these high latitudes depends on fire, mainly for warmth and cooking, but also to create smoke to protect reindeer from insect harassment in summer. Exploring the presence, location, and uses of fire on past and present Nenets herding sites can help us understand how their lifeways and herding practices have changed over time.
Here we present preliminary results from an interdisciplinary approach applied to an ancient Nenets site still in use that used a range of geoarchaeological tools to elucidate past occupation and fire-related activities. Surface surveys for charcoal and burnt bones allowed the identification of modern fire locations, or the locations of ancient fires on eroded sites, and magnetic susceptibility anomalies helped to locate potential buried fires. Herding activity and related past animal presence were tracked by phosphate (presence/absence) and lipid biomarker (origin) analysis.
This multidisciplinary strategy, informed by traditional knowledge and ethnoarchaeology, is making an important contribution to our understanding of the past lifeways and herding practices and their relationship to fire, of northern nomadic pastoralists.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2017
EventEthnoarchaeology of fire - AMBI Lab, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, La Laguna, Spain
Duration: 9 Feb 201712 Feb 2017
https://cmallol.webs.ull.es/index.php?p=100&l=en

Conference

ConferenceEthnoarchaeology of fire
CountrySpain
CityLa Laguna
Period9/02/1712/02/17
Internet address

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nomadic people
interdisciplinary approach
traditional knowledge
magnetic susceptibility
charcoal
smoke
occupation
biomarker
bone
lipid
phosphate
insect
anomaly
food
animal
summer
goods
analysis

Cite this

Understanding past activities of pastoral nomadic Nenets from Western Siberia using a geoarchaeological toolkit. / Harrault, Loïc Charles Pierre; Milek, Karen Beatrice; Anderson, David George; Dawson, Lorna A.

2017. Poster session presented at Ethnoarchaeology of fire, La Laguna, Spain.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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AU - Dawson, Lorna A.

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AB - Nomadic Nenets people from Yamal peninsula (Siberia) were and still are dependent on reindeer herding, which provides them with food, tools, clothes, transport, and trade goods. Herding activity in these high latitudes depends on fire, mainly for warmth and cooking, but also to create smoke to protect reindeer from insect harassment in summer. Exploring the presence, location, and uses of fire on past and present Nenets herding sites can help us understand how their lifeways and herding practices have changed over time. Here we present preliminary results from an interdisciplinary approach applied to an ancient Nenets site still in use that used a range of geoarchaeological tools to elucidate past occupation and fire-related activities. Surface surveys for charcoal and burnt bones allowed the identification of modern fire locations, or the locations of ancient fires on eroded sites, and magnetic susceptibility anomalies helped to locate potential buried fires. Herding activity and related past animal presence were tracked by phosphate (presence/absence) and lipid biomarker (origin) analysis.This multidisciplinary strategy, informed by traditional knowledge and ethnoarchaeology, is making an important contribution to our understanding of the past lifeways and herding practices and their relationship to fire, of northern nomadic pastoralists.

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