Human-reindeer interactions in contemporary and ancient Siberian communities

Dietary ROOTSReindeer find relieve from mosquitoes by the smoke oven on a summer settlement of the Taz Selkup in Western Siberia, summer 2018 (photo: Jens Schneeweiß).

Reindeer are intensively herded as a means of subsistence and symbolic identity in many circumpolar societies, but, unique for husbanded animals, lack clear expressions of the ‘domestication syndrome’. Taiga reindeer herding strategies can be seen as domestication-in-practice; they probably impact more strongly on reindeer behavior and biology than the large-scale herding practices in the North Eurasian tundra. Evolutionary changes to the phenotype of reindeer as well as health-related impacts through such taiga human-animal cohabitation systems are still poorly understood and require more empirical research. The PhD project contributes to this field, investigating the evolution of human-reindeer interactions and the emergence of reindeer herding in Siberia as a means of food production, transport and ideological expression through combined ethno-archaeological, biomolecular and zooarchaeological scientific approaches guided by a rigorous theoretical framework grounded in cultural anthropology.

PhD project by Morgan Windle ( (supervisor: Henny Piezonka

ROOTS (H. Piezonka, B. Krause-Kyora , C. Makarewicz, A. Nebel); Tyumen Scientific Center, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (V. Adaev, O. Poshekhonova); OOO NIPI Etnoarch Centr, Khanty-Mansijsk (A.V. Kenig)


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