The kamchadals




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THE KAMCHADALS

BY

WALDEMAR JOCHELSON


TYPESCRIPT PREPARED BY INGRID SUMMERS AND DAVID KOESTER

(Typed in the spring of 1993)

This version of Jochelson’s unpublished manuscript, The Kamchadals, was typed up in preparation for fieldwork in Kamchatka in 1993-94. The typing was done rapidly and has not been carefully proofed against the original. There are without doubt inconsistencies between this text and the original. We attempted to preserve the text as it appeared, including misspellings. Some misspellings, however, were corrected automatically in the computer typing process and some have been corrected for clarity. Original page breaks were also maintained for easy reference to the original. Some differences in pagination may nevertheless exist between this and the original. This text is provided here for those who would like to know the nature of the material in the manuscript. Those who need exact knowledge of the text with precise original spellings should consult the original. This is especially true for the linguistic material for which we did not have time to add and check diacritical marks.

The original typescript is held in the:

Waldemar Jochelson Papers

Manuscripts and Archives Division

The New York Public Library

Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

Many thanks for permission to use the materials in this manner.
Online typescript: 2005, www.faculty.uaf.edu/ffdck
Contact: David Koester

Department of Anthropology

University of Alaska Fairbanks

www.uaf.edu/anthro


THE COUNTRY OF THE KAMCHADALS

Geologic Past of Kamchatka. Professor Obruchov1 says that at the end of the Miocene Epoch the western shore of Kamchatka was sinking, and Professor Bogdanovich2 supposes that during the Pliocene Epoch a considerable part of the present western and eastern shores of the peninsula were still covered with water. The beginning of the Quaternary, says Obruchov, evidently formed a continental phase of the Mio-Pliocene Epochs; the land in Siberia reached its maximum extension; the Bering Strait did not exist as yet, and the Chuckchee Peninsula was connected with Alaska, and therefore the northeast of Siberia must have had a milder climate than at present. But all these are geological periods which preceded the appearance of man.

The Pleistocene Epoch, which is associated with the existence of man, may be proved in the valley of the Kamchatka River, according to Bogdanovich, by the frequent occurrence of remains of the mammoth and the Bison priscus. But nothing is said about the remains of man. In many places of Siberia man was contemporaneous with the mammoth, but there is a question, whether the same was in Kamchatka. About the end of the Pleistocene Epoch, says Bogdanovich, there was an extensive glaciation in many places of Kamchatka.

These climatic changes do not interfere with the writer's theory of the migration to America of the Siberian-Americanoid tribes, including the Kamchadals, in one of the Interglacial Epochs, and of

their reemigration to northeastern Siberia after it was released from the ice.

But especially of the Kamchatka Peninsula must be noted, that our theoretical considerations are proved by archaeological evidence. No artifacts of the palaeolithic man were discovered by the author on Kamchatka, and it is possible that no man lived during the old stone age on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It remains, however, for the future to prove or disprove it. In order to clear up my doubts in this respect I communicated with my friend the Russian geologist, Professor I. P. Tolmachov, now curator of the Department of Invertebrate Palaeontology of the Department of Invertebrate Paleontology of the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He writes that it is hardly proper to conclude that man lived in the Kamchatka River valley in the Pleistocene Epoch on the only ground that remains of mammoth and of Bison priscus were found there. Mammoth and man very often were neighbors but, as it seems, their dependence was not necessarily mutual. Man might follow the mammoth in order to hunt him, but the mammoth had no need of man. Thus the remains of mammoth do not indicate that man lived in the same place if there is no direct proof of it. However, the presence of the mammoth may postulate to climatic conditions fit for man to live in, and it remains for the future to find remains of the palaeolithic man; but for the time being one may be right to hold to the theory of the peopling of Kamchatka in Recent Times, especially since no palaeolithic artifacts were discovered in my excavations, and I feel authorized to say that the late peopling of Kamchatka may corroborate the theory of the reemigration of the Siberian Americanoids from America after the last glaciation subsided. To be fair, however, I must add that I had no time to make excavations in the Kam-

chatka River valley and that no regular excavations in the territory of the other Americanoids - the Koryaks, Chuckchee and Yukaghirs were made.



Geography and Occupations. The country of the Kamchadals - or the part of the Kamchatka Peninsula to the south, from the Amanino village to the west, and Osernaya River to the east - was a part of the Primorskaya Province. In 1909 a new province of Kamchatka was created, which included 6 districts: Okhotsk, Gishiginsk, Anadyrsk, Chukotsky, Commandor Islands and Petropavlovsky. The last district is the territory of the Kamchadals. The city of Petropavlovsk was made the capital of the province and the seat of the newly appointed Governor.

The former Territory of the Kamchadals is inhabited by 8,037 people, of which 3,370 are Russians, 3,555 Kamchadals, 802 immigranted reindeer Koryaks and Tunguses and 300 Chineses, Koreans and Japaneses. There were also 10 Europeens and Americans.3

The Kamchadals have become Russianized and only the inhabitants of seven villages (between Amanino and Sopochnoye) of the western coast have preserved their native language - the western dialect of the Kamchadal language - and the inhabitants of the village Sedanka on the Tighil River speak the northern dialect. There were formerly four Kamchadal dialects, and at present even the Kamchadals, who

speak two dialects, use more of a Russian-Kamchadal slang than the pure Kamchadal. The younger generation is learning Russsian in the schools, and soon the Kamchadal language will be forgotten entirely as was the case with the dialect of the Kamchatka River and with the southern dialect, which was spoken between the Great River (Bolshaya Reka) and Lopatka Cape. While the northern dialect of the Kamchadals on the Tighil River contains many Koryak words, the southern dialect had an intermixture of Kurillian words. Krasheninnikov called the southern Kamchdal people Kurillians.

The Kamchadals had been and still remain a genuine fishing tribe. They did not adopt from their Koryak neighbors the domestic reindeer, although they were hunting the wild Kamchatka variety of reindeer. Fish, different species of salmon, ascend the Kamchatka rivers in such abundance that they amply satisfy the needs in food. The Kamchadals have no time during the short fishing season to dry or smoke all the fish for the winter and the greater part of it is put in holes covered with stones and earth, and during the winter it is consumed in a decayed state by dogs as well as by men.

To a certain degree the Kamchadals of the western coast hunt sea mammals, but, not having skin boats, they do not go out to the sea, but kill those seals, white whales (Delphinopterus leucas) and seldom sea lions which enter the mouths of the rivers in order to catch the ascending fish. Thong nets are put up for that purpose. THe Kamchadals also kill seals, spearing and shooting them at their rookeries.

Horned cattle and horses were imported into Kamchatka chiefly from the Okhotsk district, i.e., of the Yakut race, In spite of the fact that they are badly cared for, they became acclimatized in Kamchatka and are a strong race of domestic animals. The Kamchatka

horses are small, short necked, wide breasted and with short legs. during the winter they become covered with long thick hair, particularly their legs. Horses are used only in summer - as riding and pack animals. During the winter they are set free and have to graze from under the snow; rarely are they given hay and they therefore turn wild and have to be captured in the summer by lassos and trained again for riding.

Cow's milk plays at present an important role in the food of the Kamchadal and Russian inhabitants of the country. They use sweet as well as sour milk and pot cheese. Butter is rarely made, although the milk is rich in fat. But the Kamchatka cows give a small quantity of milk, about three or two quarts a day, as a result of scanty feeding in winter and of being kept in cold stalls. The Kamchadals make little hay, as the season for fishing and hay making coincide. One cow may be reckoned for every three inhabitants. The number of cattle may be estimated, according to the writer's census, at about 2,000.

Prior to the advent of the Russians the only domestic animal of the Kamchadals was the driving dog. The Kamchadal dog was regarded as the best and biggest driving dog of Siberia; at present, as a result of unfavorable conditions of life, it has become small in size. The dogs work hard during the winter, but during the entire summer they are tied up, otherwise calves and colts and sometimes cows and horses are in danger of being torn by them. They are kept far from the village and poorly fed. Owing to the economic, climatic and topographic conditions of the country, the Kamchadal can not dispense with the driving dog, and every family has from eight to fifteen dogs. The number of dogs in 1911 in Kamchatka, according to my census, was more than 5,000. The old Kamchadal sledge

for riding astride is no longer in use, the Russians having introduced the type of sledge used all over eastern Siberia. The dogs are harnessed to the sledge, being tied in pairs to a long thong.

There are no domesticated small animals, as goats or sheep and birds, in Kamchatka, as they would be exterminated by the ever hungry dogs, which very often find means to free themselves.

The Russian Government repeatedly tried to introduce agriculture and gardening into Kamchatka. For this purpose peasants from Southern Siberia and European Russia were transferred several times to Kamchatka, but all experiments have failed and the imported husbandmen turned to fishing and hunting. Only in the valley of the Kamchatka River, near the village Kluchevskoye, small sowings of barley are still being made, but without any ecomomic importance.

Experiments with gardening appeared to be more successful. Potatoes grow all over Southern Kamchatka where the digging of edible roots had almost ceased. Turnips grow there and the inhabitants of Kluchevksoye also grow cabbage, which heads well.

CLIMATE OF KAMCHATKA

The following data on the climate of the Kamchatka Peninsula are based on observations made in 1908-1909 by the members of the Meteorological Division of the Riaboushinsky Expedition headed by Dr. V. A. Vlassov.

As climate is one of the most effective nature-agents regulating human life, data concerning three chief regions of the country will be given: the western coast, the eastern coast and the central part, represented chiefly by the valley of the Kamchatka River. The western and eastern shores represent maritime climates, while the climate of the central part may be characterized as a continental one.

The climate of the western coastline of Kamchatka is more

severe than that of the eastern, due to the cold Okhotsk Sea. During the winter cold winds prevail, blowing from the Siberian continent, the region of the great Siberian anticyclone. A late spring and a cold summer characterize the climate of the western coast. On the eastern shore of Kamchatka, under the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean, frosts in the winter are not severe. Rain and snowfall are more abundant. However, the cold current arriving from the Bering Strait and the amount of ice it brings delay the beginning of summer and reduce its temperature.

The climate of the central Kamchatka, confined by its western and eastern mountain ridges, i.e., the valley of the Kamchatka River, distinguishes itself by all the peculiarities of a continental climate, having a cold winter and a comparatively warm summer. In order to demonstrate what have been said of the three climatic regions, mean annual figures for three points are given: for Tighil on the western shore, Petropavlovsk on the eastern shore and Kluchevskoye in the valley of the Kamchatka River.4






Jan. °C

Feb. °C

Mar. °C

Apr. °C

May °C

June °C

July °C

Aug. °C

Sept. °C

Oct. °C

Nov .°C

Dec. °C

Year °C

Tighil

-20.0

-19.8

-13.6

-2.2

2.4

6.2

11.3

12.1

7.0

-1.0

-7.4

-17.2

-3.5

Petropavlovsk

-10.9

-11.2

-7.0

-1.6

3.1

7.9

11.8

13.5

9.8

4.2

-1.8

-6.6

1.0

Kluchevskoye

-16.4

-15.2

-11.3

-1.5

4.6

8.5

12.15

13.1

8.8

-1.4

-7.8

-18.0

-2.0

from this table it is seen that the climate of Tighil is much colder than that of Petropavlovsk and that the climate of Kluchevskoye, by its yearly and some of its monthly mean temperatures, is colder than that of Petropavlovsk, but by its summer temperature (May, June and July) it is warmer than that of Petropavlovsk.

Temperature of the soil

monthly means, 1909





Jan.°C

Feb.°C

Mar.°C

Apr.°C

May°C

June°C

July°C

Aug.°C

Sept.°C

Oct.°C

Nov .°C

Dec.°C

Amplitude

Petropavlovsk

(1)

-10.5

-10.6

-7.3

-0.5

8.8

14.5

17.6

15.6

10.9




-4.7

-10.5

28.2

(2)

0.6

0.4

0.3

0.1

4.9

0.3




13.4

10.9




1.9

0.9

13.3

(3)

1.9

1.6

1.4

0.9

3.1

6.5




12.1

10.4




3.6

2.4

11.2

(4)

3.8

3.4

3.0

2.6

1.6

2.7




6.8

7.1




5.2

4.4

5.5

Kluchevskoye

(1)

-15.1

-17.3

-12.2

-2.4

10.2

15.6

19.3

15.9







-8.3

-19.3

38.6

(2)

-9.5

-10.3

-7.8

-3.1

3.5

9.3

12.8

12.4







-3.0

-10.4

23.2

(3)

-1.2

-2.6

-2.8

-2.2

-0.8

0.0

2.0

4.0







1.7

0.1

6.8

(4)

1.4

1.0

0.7

0.5

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.4







2.7

2.1

2.3

Tighil

(1)

-15.3

-20.3

-14.0

-2.8

6.8

13.0

15.7

12.3

8.4

1.7

-6.1

-15.6

36.6

(2)

-11.9

-14.7

-12.0

-3.9

1.6

6.9

10.6

10.7

8.1

2.7

0.8

0.4

25.4

(3)

-3.1

-6.2

-6.9

-4.4

-0.3

0.0

1.1

4.0

5.1

3.0

0.9

0.3

12.0

(4)

0.4

0.0

-0.3

-0.9

-0.6

-0.2

-0.2

-0.2

0.0

0.3

0.3

0.2

1.2

(1) means of the surface

(2) means of 0.25 meter deep

(3) means 1.0 meter deep

(4) means 2.0 meter deep

This table is compiled from the numerous data on this subject by Vlassov, in order to show what time of the year may be regarded as the most favorable for making excavations in Kamchatka. In Petropavlovsk from May to September inclusive; in Kluchevskoye from July to September; in Tighil in August and September, and even in these two months we meet the freezing point at the depth of two meters. My own experience in that region gave still less favorable results. While digging on June 11 on the bank or Kulki River, a tributary of Tighil River, not far from the village Tighil, I met frozen soil at the depth of one foot and down. According to Vlassov only at the depth of more than one meter (3.28 feet) is the soil in Tighil frozen in that month.

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