Project Leader

David G. Anderson

G5 Edward Wright Building
Department of Anthropology,
School of Social Sciences,
University of Aberdeen
AB24 3QY

Aberdeen Team Members

Rob Wishart

Dr. Wishart will be documenting the ethnography and history of science of caribou, dog, fish, and muskoxen in Canada's Northwest and Yukon Territories and Alaska with Gwich'in hunters as well as biologists working in the region.

Peter Loovers

Dr. Loovers has been working extensively on the relations between dogs, fish, and caribou through ethnographic and archival research. His particular focus is on so-called 'working dogs' in the Gwich'in communities in Canada's Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

Dmitry Arzyutov

Dr. Arzyutov will be studying reindeer and dog-rearing cultures on the Yamal peninsula with special attention to the way that local Nenetses view each species as creating special 'societies'.  Dr. Arzyutov is also employed on an ESRC funded project on the history of Etnos theory.

Ilse Kamerling

Dr. Ilse Kamerling's research interests comprise the reconstruction of small scale human impact in boreal forest environments using a combination of pollen, coprophilous fungal spores and microscopic charcoal. During her PhD work here in Aberdeen she applied these techniques in northern Sweden at historical Sámi reindeer herding areas and within the vicinity of past Nordic farming settlements.

At present Ilse is involved in the Arctic Domus project, a multi-disciplinary research project that looks at animal domestication and its development throughout the Russian Federation, Fennoscandia, Canada, and Alaska. Her field sites are located in the Saian Mountains, southern Siberia, where she is looking to determine what plant taxa are indicative of reindeer herding in this environment compared to those already identified in northern Sweden. This will then be used to create palaeo-ecological reconstructions of past reindeer herding activity at recently abandoned and historic reindeer herding sites, to supplement the limited or contradicting information available from oral histories.

Loïc Haurrault

Loïc Harrault joined the HUMANOR project as a postdoc in May 2015 in the Aberdeen team with Dr. Karen Milek, Pr. Lorna Dawson (James Hutton Institute) and Pr. David Anderson. He is a geoarcheologist specialised in organic geochemistry. He uses chemical and molecular tools like lipid biomarkers to identify the presence of reindeers and other animals in archeological sites from Siberia and Sweden to better understand the evolution of human-animal relationships over time in these areas.

Karen Milek

Lecturer in Archaeology in the School of Geosciences, will be applying geoarchaeological techniques to contemporary and historical reindeer herding camps in Siberia in order to determine if signatures of reindeer penning and other management practices may be preserved in the archaeological record.

Alex Oehler

Dr. Alex Oehler was a PhD student (completed 2017) in the Department of Anthropology and holder of a research fellowship from 'The North' Programme at the same university. His work with the Arctic Domus project involves the study of the varied cosmologies of settlers and indigenous people in their relationship with the environment within Siberia. He now holds a position at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Paula Schiefer

Paula Schiefer is a PhD student in the Arctic Domus Project. The focus of Paula’s research is on relations between (Yup’ ik) people, salmon and other animals along the Kuskokwim River in Southwest Alaska. She is especially interested in practices that cultivate relations between people and salmon, including those that make, perpetuate, or hinder salmon’s significance as a valuable animal.

Catherine Munro

Catherine Munro is a PhD student in the Arctic Domus project. She will be researching historic and contemporary relationships surrounding the breeding of Shetland ponies. Catherine will examine the history of the classification of the ‘breed’ as well as their role in colonization across the Arctic.

Sara Asu Schroer

Dr. Sara Asu Schroer is examining the complex trans-species relationships that develop in falconry – a hunting practice through which humans and birds of prey learn to hunt in cooperation. In her current post-doctoral research she extended fieldwork and archival research to also include the practice of breeding of birds of prey. In her research she is particularly interested in exploring question of trans-species knowledge and learning as well as aspects of architectures and technologies of domestication. 

Tamara Ranspot

Tamara Ranspot is a PhD student in the University of Aberdeen’s Department of Anthropology. She will be studying the role of music in human-animal relationships, looking in particular at the ways in which people communicate with, represent, and assert their relationships with animals through music. She will be working with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation in and around Dawson City, Yukon Territory in Northern Canada.

Gioia Barnbrook

Gioia Barnbrook is a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. Her current research explores the relational ecology of historical and contemporary human-waterfowl-environment connections among coastal Cree in the eastern James Bay. Focusing particularly on documenting Cree knowledge of these relationships, it will also incorporate archival accounts of missionaries, traders and scientists.

Erin Consiglio

Erin Consiglio is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology.  She will be studying human-animal relationships in Canada, focusing on animals in oral history.  She will be working with Gwich’in women in Old Crow, in the northern Yukon.

Laura Siragusa

Dr. Laura Siragusa will be examining human-animal relationships through communicative interaction among Veps and Sámi, two Finno-Ugric groups in north-western Russia. She will problematize the nature of communicative activities and observe how Vepsian and Sámi villagers talk about the animals, how they talk toengage with and negotiate with the animals and the spirits. Shifting the focus to the linguistic interaction between humans and animals will also allow Dr. Siragusa to add knowledge to concerns about the creation or building of the environment.

Regional Fieldworkers

Robert Losey

Dr. Losey is responsible for documenting breeds of modern and ancient dogs across Eurasia as well as developing new methods for analysing stress markers on the bones of dogs and of reindeer.

Konstantin Klokov

Prof. Klokov will be documenting contemporary reindeer-herding and Rangifer hunting societies across Russian North but expecially Yamal and Zabaikal'e.

Artur Kharinskii -

Prof. Kharinskii will be co-ordinating the palynological laboratory work within Russia as well as the genetic sampling of Rangifer breeds.  He will also co-ordinate fieldwork in the North Baikal region.

Clinton Westman

Dr. Westman will be conducting ethnographic field research in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan on the ritual understandings of animals among Crees.

Vladimir Davydov - |

Dr. Davydov will conduct ethnographic work among contemporary herding and hunting societies across Eastern Siberia but especially in Evenkiia and the North Baikal regions.

Elena Volzhanin

Dr. Volzhanina is conducting an ethnohistorical study of the process of land entitlement among indigenous reindeer herding people on the Iamal peninsula in Western Siberia in the first third of the 20th Century.

Associated Scholars

Knut Røed

Knut Røed is a professor in genetics at the Department of Basic Sciences and Aquatic Medicine at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. His interests are within animal genetics and evolutionary biology using both modern genome based analyses and traditional quantitative genetic approaches. Central research areas are: use of genetic tools to study the process of reindeer domestication and to identify drivers responsible for the genetic structure of wild and domestic reindeer herds.

Anna-Kaisa Salmi -

Anna-Kaisa Salmi will create osteological methods for identification of reindeer domestication from archaeological animal bone finds. Her research focuses especially on reindeer domestication and human-reindeer relationships among the Sámi.

Associated Graduate students

Sarah Moritz

Sarah Moritz (PhD McGill University) focuses her ethnographic, anthropological and archival research collaboratively on Interior Salish St’át’imc governance and knowledge practices and the history of science and anthropology in relation to land, water and animals, particularly salmon, along the Fraser River in British Columbia, Western Canada.

Anna Mossolova

Anna Mossolova is a PhD student at Tallinn University. She studies human-animal relations among the Yupik in Alaska, USA.

Maria Kartveit

Maria Kartveit's research for her MA at the University of Oslo was based in Dawson city, Yukon, Canada. She investigated the relationship between humans and salmon, from a knowledge and power perspective. Her thesis was called: "When knowledges meet: Management and co-management of a declining salmon run in Subarctic Canada".

​​​​​​​Katherine Latham

Katherine Lantham recently completed my Master of Arts degree at the University of Alberta. The focus of her research was human relationships with dogs, specifically the use of dogs for pulling and carrying loads. Her master’s thesis evaluated the use of certain skeletal indicators for identifying these types working relationships in the archaeological record. Her thesis is titled Working Like Dogs: A systematic evaluation of spinal pathologies as indicators of dog transport in the archaeological record.

Aberdeen Support Staff

Susan Mitchell

  • Travel Claims and Purchase Orders
  • Logistics and Travel Bookings

Blair Annandale

  • Financial Management
  • Reporting

Dr. Tara Joly -

  • Website Administration
  • Reporting