University of Oulu

Fjellström, M., Salmi, A.-K., Aronsson, K.- Åke, & Lidén, K. . (2023). Reindeer retrieved from melting snow patches reveal information on prehistoric landscape use in Swedish Sápmi. Rangifer, 43(2), 1–30.

Reindeer retrieved from melting snow patches reveal information on prehistoric landscape use in Swedish Sápmi

Saved in:
Author: Fjellström, Markus1; Salmi, Anna-Kaisa1; Aronsson, Kjell-Åke;
Organizations: 1History, Culture and Communication Studies, Oulu University, Finland
2Archaeological Research Laboratory, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-11-15


In this study we discuss the remains of reindeer skeletal elements found at two different snow patches at Varánjunnje and Gárránistjåhkkå situated in the National Park of Stuor Muorkke in northern Sweden. Unfortunately, glaciers and snow patches are melting; however, this offers a unique opportunity to study the use of mountainous landscape in the past. Here we compare modern, historic and archaeological reindeer to Forest and Mountain Sámi reindeer herding districts. By using radiocarbon dating and osteological and stable isotope analysis (δ13C, δ15N and δ34S) we aim to study reindeer mobility and land use in the past. The results from the morphometric data, stable isotope analysis and radiocarbon dating from prehistoric and historic reindeer (n=40) show that there is very little variation over time in the diet of the reindeer retrieved from the snow patches. We also found that these reindeer must have grazed in different geographic areas. There was no correlation between age, gender, pathological changes and diet, and the castrated reindeer did not differ from other reindeer.

see all

Series: Rangifer
ISSN: 0333-256X
ISSN-E: 1890-6729
ISSN-L: 0333-256X
Volume: 43
Issue: 2
Pages: 1 - 30
DOI: 10.7557/
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Funding: We thank Göran Gustafssons stiftelse för natur och miljö i Lappland (#1710), the European Research Council (ERC-StG 756431) and the Academy of Finland (Grant 285774) for financing this study.
EU Grant Number: (756431) DOMESTICATION - Domestication in Action - Tracing Archaeological Markers of Human-Animal Interaction
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 285774
Detailed Information: 285774 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: Copyright (c) 2023 Markus Fjellström, Anna-Kaisa Salmi, Kjell-Åke Aronsson, Kerstin Lidén. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.