Poshekhonova O.E., Adaev V.N.


The article deals with an attempt to interpret archaeological and paleoecological sources obtained during the excavation of a Selkup grave in an ancient burial ground situated in the upper river Taz area (Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, Russia), by comparing them with ethnographic data. The goal of the paper is to examine historical dynamics of these components in the funeral ritual of the Northern Selkups during the 19th century as traditional preparation of burial food and the funeral feast process. The choice of this particular archaeological site relates to the unique and unusually well-preserved remains of organic materials in the grave that gave a most detailed and complete picture of the composition of the burial food and the funeral feast. In order to interpret the archaeological data we have used information from published ethnographical sources and archival documents as well as materials from the ethnographic field research of funeral traditions of the Selkups of the Upper Taz river, held in 2013 simultaneously with archaeological work. The study made it possible to determine not only probable burial food and funeral feast food of the Northern Selkup burial but also the form and the content of the ritual practice, and to present them in the cultural and historical contexts. As a matter of fact, it was concluded that the closest analogies to the ritual of the studied object are found in earlier archaeological data associated with the Southern Selkups and Eastern Khanty (1617th centuries) and in ethnographic sources on the Khanty from remote areas which are not directly adjacent to the Taz River basin. The clearly appeared trace of the Southern Selkups and Khanty in the funeral ritual, in our opinion, marks cultural components which played a key role in formation of the Selkup local community of the Upper Taz river. Bones and food scraps of the abundant funeral feast buried on top of the grave are a notable feature of the studied Selkup burial sites which indicate the ancient origin of considerable variability of the Northern Selkup’s funeral ritual.

Key words: Western Siberia, ethnoarchaeology, Northern Selkups, funeral ritual, ritual food.


Bogordayeva A.A., Fedorov R.Yu.


 The article is dedicated to systematization and generalization of ethnographic data about Mansi home sanctuaries. The author considers ethnographic descriptions published in the XVIII — XX centuries and uses her own field data. The author held expeditions to the territory of inhabitance of Northern Mansi in the settlements situated on the banks of the rivers Severnaya Sos’va and Lyapin in 2006–2010 years. Two types of home sanctuaries in traditional Mansi dwelling were marked out during the research. The first type is a holy ceiling, located directly in the living space. The second type is an attic, separated from the living space of the house by a ceiling. The research shows their interrelation and development as well as present functional features. The article also deals with the question of origin of Samsay-oyka, a house guardian spirit of Northern Mansi. The attic is considers as one of the places where it lives. A hypothesis of late formation of the image of Samsay-oyka is formulated.

Key words: Mansi, traditional dwelling, types of sanctuaries, house, home sanctuary, attic, ceiling, roof, sacred shelf, sacred corner, house guardian spirits, house guardian spirit Samsaj-ojka.


Chudova T.I.


The article is dedicated to an ethnographic description of national food of the Vishera Komi differentiating in originality of the language and ethnographic relation within a big ethnographic group of Komi (Zyrians) living in the Verkhniaia Vychegda river basin. The local tradition of culture of alimentation reflecting features of subethnic character is closely connected with an ecological niche and economic and household traditions which have predetermined contents and structure of food raw material, ways of its preservation, and technology of preparation of the dishes. The developed strategy of alimentation is one of the results and, at the same time, a mechanism of adaptation to the environmental conditions, while religious identity of the ethnos forms a system of food preferences and taboos. Grain, meat and dairy products with a share of commercial production are typical for the Vishera Komi. Carbohydrate components of the food ration are represented by grain crops which were used for preparation of various bakery products, grain soups and porridges. Grain soups and porridges formed a food basis which was reflected in the collective name of food «soup porridge». The range of meat, dairy and fish dishes as protein food components was not very rich, and their inclusion into the menu wasn't so frequent which was connected with a practice of Christian fasts observance. However the collective name of food meaning «full life» was defined by the phrase «to live by milk and meat». The range of vegetable menu was not rich but it brought some variety into the food ration. In general, it was the main layer of products connected with the major economic activities. Wild plants rich in vitamins brought some variety to the food repertoire and represented a substrate layer connected with rudiments of the previous economic order. The third, superstrate layer was represented by grocery raw materials acquired through a commercial network. Technological ways of cooking are predetermined by the use of Russian furnace which is not created for frying. Absence of fried food and minimum use of spices makes the food useful for health. Daily practice of consumption of hot food and compliance of a nutrition regime acted as indicators of a healthy lifestyle.

Key words: Vishera Komi, food raw material, traditional dishes, table etiquette.


Shcherbich S.N.


Mission itineraries disclose problems of cultural interaction and reflect the authors’ unique individual experience of communication with local people and reflections about it. The article reviews the book «The Obdorsk mission itineraries (6070s of the 19th century)» as a historical source in order to evaluate its information capacities in historical research and its characteristics  as a historical and cultural phenomenon. The source analysis allowed us to reveal background of the edition, its structure and principles of document selection, of writing of scientific commentaries to the itineraries, and of compliance to the rules of archeographic preparation of the publication. The comparative analysis of the original work and the publication has proved their authenticity. This publication is considered to be valuable as the Obdorsk mission itineraries have become available to readers, and, what is more important, it contains scientific commentaries on the missionaries’ personal data and explains many concepts and terms employed in the text. The geographical index serves for the purpose of quick reference for readers, and, what is more significant, it can be considered as an independent research focus of geography of northwestern Siberia in the 19th century. The name index serves for the purpose of bringing to light some local and foreign names and also allows us to consider these names in the context of cultural interaction of the Orthodox clergy with the indigenous people of Northwestern Siberia. The study of the Obdorsk mission itineraries urges us to single out the key concept of overcoming: overcoming the unkind Siberian nature, inertness and indifference of the native people, their savagery and superstitions, and what is more, self-overcoming getting rid of fears, weaknesses and doubts. The missionary itineraries are a unique source of curriculum vitae of the Obdorsk mission priests living in the 19th century, but sadly this potential is still beyond historical researches. The missiona-ries’ written heritage requires further scientific study as a historical source in the modern Russian historiography. Publication of those sources contains rich potential which may be demanded in the comparative historical researches of written heritage of missionaries of the spiritual missions in Western Siberia and other territories of the Russian Empire aimed at revealing its similarities and differences.

Key words: Missionary itineraries, Orthodox missionaries, indigenous people, the Obdorsk mission, source analysis, the problem of cultural dialogue.