Iamal Peninsula in northern Siberia is the prosaic home to one of the largest surviving herds of domestic reindeer after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Recent study (Federova 2003) shows that the peninsula can be considered as a new 'cradle' of reindeer domestication with possible tight association with dog domestication. Currently Iamal is also home to large gas exploration industries for the European market.
A large team of researchers within Arctic Domus are investigating human-animal relationships on the peninsula. Prof Konstantin Klokov, a regional fieldworker from St. Petersburg State University, is documenting the different ways that Nenets dogs and reindeer are trained to associate with mobile human camps. Similarly, Dr. Dmitry Arzyutov, is investigating the status of companion dogs (and cats) among mobile reindeer herding familes.
Dr. Robert Losey is investigating the archaeological history of dog provisioning and dog sledding in this region, primarily using the collections from the well-known Ust’-Polui site. The associate scholar Knut Røed and David Anderson are completing a fine-grained genetic picture of reindeer types along the length and bredth of the peninsula, with special attention to the 'pedigree' reindeer herding operation at Yar-Sale. Finally, in colloboration with the research group RISES at the Arctic Institute in Rovaniemi, Arctic Domus is adapting Scandinavian models of pollen and fungal spore analysis in Siberian Arctic conditions to better tell the story of the history of large scale reindeer husbandry in the region.