Conclusion: Past and Present Reindeer Herding in Dialogue

Anna-Kaisa Salmi, Päivi Soppela, Sanna-Mari Kynkäänniemi, Henri Wallen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This concluding chapter summarises the new insights provided by a combination of archaeological research, traditional knowledge, and other sources of information on reindeer domestication and the development of reindeer herding in northern Fennoscandia. The archaeological evidence presented in the previous chapters provides new chronological information on the early reindeer-herding practices of the Sámi, as well as their local variation and long-term adaptations. The traditional knowledge of reindeer herders is used to interpret the meanings of the archaeologically observed reindeer-herding practices and situate them within the framework of current reindeer-herding societies carrying on and maintaining those traditions. Thus, the concluding chapter returns to the themes introduced in the Introduction: archaeological results are employed to show that reindeer-herding practices have always been dynamic and adapted to the changing social, economic, and environmental pressures. Practices such as reindeer feeding, draught reindeer use, and pastoral mobility have ancient roots, but they have also been very variable in terms of time and space. Today, they bear an important memory and tradition. The long-term continuity and adaptation of reindeer herding apparent in the archaeological data show the long-term resilience of reindeer herders and reindeer herding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDomestication in Action
Subtitle of host publicationPast and Present Human-Reindeer Interaction in Northern Fennoscandia
EditorsAnna-Kaisa Salmi
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-98643-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-98642-1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • animal domestication
  • reindeer herding
  • traditional knowledge
  • ethnoarchaeology
  • ethnobiology

Field of science

  • Genetics, developmental biology, physiology


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