Constructive association of paleo-Asian sled transport and mobile dwelling in evolutionary and modernization aspects 

Vorobey I.E., Khakhovskaya L.N.


Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2022, 1 (56)


              page 182192




This article represents an attempt to utilize the heuristic potential of the hypothesis proposed by V.G. Kuznetsova. Her assumption is based on the analysis of Chukcha rituals and constitutes a view of the nomadic wagon called kaaran as an example of the original movable dwelling in the period of formation of pastoral reindeer husbandry. In nomadic cultures, the fundamental close activity-related conjugation of sliding transport and housing constructions cannot but breed aspirations towards their constructive fusion as one of the tendencies of life organization. The realization of such aspirations takes place during the times of severe cultural transformations within the society, stipulated with internal innovative processes and/or external influences. We assume that the a relevant tendency could have been realized as a mobile shelter (constructive associations of a small living cell and a moving platform) at the stage of development of paleo-Asian reindeer herding, in the context of deficit of transport reindeer. The design variability of the sleds and framework bodies of known wagons along with its reasons remains unresearched. Still, one can observe the morphological and technological resemblance between bent carcasses and temporary twig-based dwellings, that occured widely in the south of taiga region from the right bank of the Ob River down to the Amur River. The structural constrains of the paleo-Asian sleds and particular features of the reindeer gear and harness did not allow the development of the sled-wagon towards a complete, although still small, portable housing on a standard traditional base. However, this tendency revealed itself quite clearly during the Soviet modernization period: the archive and literature sources of the Soviet time display some constructive solutions that connected vehicles (sled, tractor sledge) with demountable and solid dwellings in order to optimize the systems of cargo transportation and grazing, and also to create convenient environment for the herders. In this case, the newest intercultural Chukchas hybrid (a tent hoisted on a snow sled) recorded by V.N. Davydov, turns out to be another incarnation of the once emerged deep notion mated with new technical capacities.

Keywords: Chukotka, paleoasians, mobility, sled transport, dwelling, domestication, Soviet modernization.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 16.12.2021

Article is published: 21.03.2022


Vorobey I.E., Magadanskiy Regional Studies Museum, Karla Marksa st., 55, Magadan, Russian Federation, E-mail:,


Khakhovskaya L.N., North-East Interdisciplinary Scientific Research Institute n. a. N.A. Shilo FEB RAS, Portovaya st., 16, Magadan, Russian Federation, E-mail:,