Rangifer and man: An ancient relationship

  • Bryan Gordon
Keywords: archeology, ancient hunting, Barrenlands, caribou, herd following, hunters, Magdalenian, Mesolithic, reindeer


A long-term relationship between Rangifer and humans is documented in three case studies: the Canadian Barrenlands (8000 years ago to Historic period), Ice-Age France (11 000-19 000 years ago) and Mesolithic Russia (7000¬10 000 years ago). Ancient human and herd migration occurred in all areas, based upon Rangifer remains and seasonal variations in tools along reconstructed migration routes, with few if any hunting camps outside the routes. An April peak of ancient human births is inferred from the historic record where we see births occurring nine months after peak nutritional states in herds and people. The origin of reindeer domestication and breeding in Eurasia is discussed.
How to Cite
GordonB. (2003). Rangifer and man: An ancient relationship. Rangifer, 23(5), 15-28. https://doi.org/10.7557/