5. Northeast Baikal

The Northeast Baikal region (Zabaikal'e) has been traditionally cited as one of the possible 'hearths' or 'cradles' of animal domestication in Eurasia. To this day there is a curious interchange of technique and technology between stewards of domestic reindeer and horse pastoralists. Although criss-crossed by two major intercontinental railways the region is rugged and difficult to access.


Arctic Domus had a number of ongoing-projects in the region. In the North Baikal district of Buriatiia, regional fieldworker Prof. Artur Kharinskii lead a team investigating the long-term pollen signatures left by historic and contemporary reindeer corrals. This research provides an important context of comparision to similar research being undertaking on the Iamal peninsula. Regional fieldworker Dr Vladimir Davydov wrote an ethnographic description of how both domestic and wild reindeer are tamed to differing degrees with his research in North Baikal and Kalar Districts. Dr. Robert Losey studied ancient human-dog relations in a number of contexts in this region, including among early hunter-gatherer groups and settled pastoralists. Lacey Fleming, a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Robert Losey, studied the dietary provisioning of prehistoric and historic Siberian dogs through stable isotope analysis. Prof. David Anderson also conducted fieldwork in both locations to develop an account of 'architectures of domestication'.