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Water vehicles

Forest Yukaghirs (Oduls)

For the upper Kolyma, within the modern territory of the north-east of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), swampiness and waterlogging are characteristic, there in the warm season water vehicles have always been of exceptional importance. In the past, this factor largely determined the nomadic nature of the Odul culture, Yukaghir families roamed in the summer along the large and small rivers of the region on rafts and boats. The multifunctionality of water resources assumed the use of specialized watercraft in accordance with the needs of nomadic life: fishing shuttles that are easy to manage and carry, cargo boats for transportation during migrations of families with women, the elderly, and children. (read more)

The tundra yukaghirs

The Nizhnekolymsk Yukaghirs had a shuttle, which had some special features, as a necessary part of their not only fishing, but also hunting life. Such a shuttle was made from driftwood from the ocean shore. It consisted, similarly to the Verkhnekolymsky shuttles, of three boards, and the bottom board was half–hollowed out. Its unique difference was the bone runners made of wild deer antlers, which were attached to the edges of the bottom with glue and wooden nails.

The glue was also extracted by boiling deer antlers. Deer could drag such a shuttle across the tundra without damage. The only problem was related to its summer storage in the tundra zone, which consisted of protection from the sun so that it would not melt the resin covering the seams of the shuttle.

Compiled by N. V. Pluzhnikov
(from the book “Peoples of the North-East of Russia).

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