Image of a Nerpa seal from Lake Baikal

A Nerpa seal from Lake Baikal.

A Story of Nerpa: Indigenous People and Baikal Seals in Eastern Siberia

Mar 5, 7:30 PM
Clapp Library Lecture Room
Free and open to the public

The Russian Area Studies program presents a lecture by Dr. Tatiana Nomokonova, research assistant at the University of Alberta, on Lake Baikal archaeology. The sacred sea of Siberia, Lake Baikal, is home to the world’s only wholly freshwater seal, known locally as nerpa. This animal has had meaningful relationships with indigenous groups living on the lake’s shores, both in the present and in the far distant past. Images of the Baikal seal are present in rock art panels, and bones of nerpa have been found at habitation sites, human cemeteries, and sites of sacrificial offerings, the earliest of which is at least 10,000 years old. Importantly, hunting for nerpa remains a living tradition at Lake Baikal, where seal hunters and their families strive to maintain their relationships with their quarry by staying in good standing with the spiritual master and other local spirits, and through hunting, cooking, consuming, and sharing parts from this unique animal.

For questions, please contact: Katie Jackson, ksangoja@wellesley.edu

Generously supported by the Kathryn Wasserman Davis ’28 Fund.

Image Credit:

Dr. Tatiana Nomokonova