Дополнительные сведения о комплексах ударной огнедобычи в погребальной практике коряков Северо-эвенского района Магаданской области

Translated title of the contribution: A new information about fire-making apparatus in the funeral practice of Koryaks of North-even district, Magadan region

Igor E. Vorobey, Lydmila N. Khakhovskaya, Oleg A. Mitko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This publication follows up a series of articles dedicated to the study of the traditional methods of making fire by the reindeer herding Koryak population located in the North-Even district of the Magadan region. The purpose of this article is to analyze the impact of fire tools and their use in the funeral rituals. The relevance of this research is supported by the extreme lack of today's opportunities to conduct specific thematic studies of the Koryaks' living traditions and culture. The descriptions of the Koryak's funeral rituals can be rarely met and are never thoroughly analyzed in the ethnographical researches.

The research was based on the preparatory female burying inventory kit, mostly selected in the end of the 1960-1970 period. Due to various reasons these belongings were not burnt in the funeral pyre with their owner, who has departed in 2013. The funeral inventory had two impact fire-making toolkits, but none of them had the most important component: a fire-steel. The peculiarity of the first fire-making kit, which had a tinder and a sulphur box, was in the substitution of the flint with an archeological stone bifacial knife. The second toolkit, which comprised a pinch of natural sulphur, three flints and one "British" gunflint (dated 19 century), also contained bead finders and small grains of bugle, which adds a new dimension of a traditional sacrifice practice.

The formulated hypothesis regarding the three-steps assembly of the modern polymorphic and multifunctional complex of the Koryaks' fire-making tools, the oral testimonies of Koryak informants and the literature data allowed to conduct the following conclusions. In the Koryak culture the practice of fire-making items used in burying rituals has a deep historical background of times when the fire was obtained with the wooden tools. However, there is no direct archeological evidence to support this fact. Later, the wooden fire board for the ritual funeral inventory were substituted with the impact fire tools: they did not find their constant place among the domestic household items and family legacies. In 19-20 centuries during the funerary rituals the wooden fire boards were presented as copycat models which replaced real products. The developed practice of the impact fire tools substitution and modeling was associated with the depletion of the metal fire tools source. Another conclusion was made about the possible gender specifics, that is associated with the reason why the steel and flint were included in the women's funerary inventory. This fact questions the theory about the purpose of the funerary fire-making items as a toolset for smoking.
Translated title of the contributionA new information about fire-making apparatus in the funeral practice of Koryaks of North-even district, Magadan region
Original languageRussian
Article number20
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
JournalВестник Томского государственного университета. История
Issue number66
Publication statusPublished - 2020



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