Iarte VI and Late Holocene Reindeer Remains from the Iamal Peninsula of Arctic Siberia

Tatiana Nomokonova, Robert J. Losey, Andrei V. Plekhanov and Heather J. McIntyre

Abstract

Rangifer tarandus is one of the most important animals for indigenous groups living in the Arctic. This significance is particularly the case in the Iamal Peninsula of the Russian Federation. The Iamal Peninsula has produced a substantial archaeological record of human engagement with reindeer during the Late Holocene period. The archaeological site known as Iarte VI, a multihousepit settlement on the open tundra of the peninsula, has produced the region’s largest and most well-dated reindeer-bone assemblage. This study provides a chronological assessment of Iarte VI based on numerous radiocarbon and dendrochronology dates, an analysis of the site’s large faunal assemblage, and comparison of these remains with those from all other sampled sites on the peninsula. Iarte VI appears to have been a warm-season settlement where reindeer were intensively utilized during the 11th century AD. Other regional sites had broader subsistence practices, but reindeer are nonetheless consistently present.

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