Recent additions, changes and updates to Don's Maps




Back to Don's Maps


Early Hominid Sites, Stone Age Sites and Reindeer People


The major sites of discovery of Australopithecus africanus
The major sites of discovery of Australopithecus africanus. Here in South Africa were unearthed the earliest known human fossils, about 600 000 years ago.
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


The major sites of discovery in Java
The major sites of discovery in Java
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


Beijing man
Beijing man
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


Beijing man tools
Beijing Man tools
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


Homo heidelbergensis jaw
Homo heidelbergensis jaw
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


australopithskull.jpg
Australopithicus skull
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


plesianthropusbloom.jpg
Plesianthropus Bloom
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


coupsdepoingacheulian.jpg
Coups de poing Acheulian
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


bonegroovedstone
Grooves in stone from sharpening bone tools
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


earliesttool.jpg
One of the earliest tools ever found
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


taigaswamp1.jpg
taiga swamp one
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


taigaswamp2.jpg
taiga swamp two
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


Ch 13, The Taiga, P 123

Taiga is the virgin forest of Siberia. But it is more. Taiga is wild, uncleared terrain, mostly forest, but also composed of open ground, swamps and barren hillocks. Taiga is what the Russian peasant calls the land that begins where his tillage ends.

.... the greater part of northern and central Siberia is swamp taiga. The largest marshy area in the world, it stretches for hundreds of miles and consists of stagnant lakes and boggy pools of glistening green water interspersed with myriad tufts of grass. The general name for the people of this area is the Tungu. The Orochi are a particular group of the Tungu who subsist almost entirely on the products of the reindeer.

.... In the North Manchurian taiga ........... I knew the Orochi, the reindeer men. Oro means reindeer, and chon is a man. .............. The whole culture of the Orochi, everything they own or do, stems from or refers to the reindeer. The reindeer is not a wild animal that has been caught or broken in, but a beast of burden bred by generation after generation.

Reindeer feed principally on lichen. They also eat fungi, berries, and young tree roots, but without lichen they do not thrive.

The average dead-weight a reindeer can carry effectively is about seventy two pounds, or 33 kilograms. A reindeer carrying this weight will cover twenty or thirty miles of the most difficult terrain in one day, and in winter, when two or four animals are harnessed to a sled, they are capable of doing forty five miles or more, although the Orochi do not use sleds. Reindeer are tended and milked by the women folk. Their milk is sweet and thick, but poor in fat. Almost everything the Tungus wears is made of reindeer hide: the stout mocassins which protect his feet, his trousers, his Tungus apron, his jerkin, his cap and, unless they are made of blue squirrel skin, his thick gloves.

Orochon families usually roam in groups of three or four, their reindeer forming communal herds which are left to graze and find water for themselves. Reindeer leave camp during halts to look for pastures which are generally many miles from their owners resting places, sometimes staying away for days on end. They return to their owners because of the threat of the wolf, from which the Orochi protect them.

A reindeer herd generally consists of two or three bucks, about twenty five gelded males, twenty-odd does, ten to fifteen young does of breeding age, and about thirty calves. Roughly half the animals dies before reaching sexual maturity, for reindeer are extremely susceptible to infections, particularly pneumonia.

In summer reindeer are tormented by flies, and horsefly larvae can kill a full grown reindeer. The Orochi build large fires on a still summer day, and the reindeer stand in the smoke to evade the torturing clouds of gnats and gadflies.

The Orochon needs no stick or whip to drive his reindeer. They obey his word of command, and each reindeer has a name and comes when it is called.

In former times, the Orochi used to hunt bear with a spear called the palma, an extremely dangerous undertaking, because the spear had to be thrust into the animal's heart from close quarters, when the bear reared to attack.
reindeerman.jpg
An Orochon in hunting garb. The Orochon are breeders and hunters of reindeer whose nomadic culture and economy are based entirely on that animal. Even their name reflects this. On the left is an old musket, on the right a palma, the wooden shaft surmounted by a blade with which the Orochon formerly hunted bear.
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


reindeertentsbirchbark.jpg
Various stages in the construction of an Orochon tent. A framework of thin branches is covered with birch bark and later secured by a few external poles.
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


womenbirchbarktent.jpg
Orochon women seated before a tent in a forest clearing. This picture shows clearly how tents are faced with strups of birch bark about two feet wide and twenty feet long. The material is impregnated with natural juices before use.
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


decoratedtunic.jpg
Everything worn by the Orochon comes from the reindeer, from skin cap to mocassins. Outer garments are richly decorated, stained with vegetable dyes and sewn together with reindeer hair.
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


reindeersledge.jpg
Koryak are a group of Tungus who do use reindeer sledges. The animals are harnessed in oblique formation by traces of varying lengths. Although each sledge is normally drawn by three to five reindeer, it can only cover between fifteen and twenty five miles a day in winter, and in summer even less. (This estimate conflicts with the figure given above of forty five miles or more)
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


childrenreindeer.jpg
No child of the tundra Yukaghirs ever falls out of these saddles. Reindeer are entrusted even with cradles containing young babies.
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic


reindeersledgeburial.jpg
The body of a Yukaghir girl on its way to a tundra funeral, drawn by reindeer.
Photo: Lissner - Man, Myth and Magic







Back to Don's Maps