Maps and oral accounts of whether or not Lake Cheko existed before 1908 are admittedly less reliable, because of the remoteness in space of the region and in time of the TE. Even so, we searched for evidence pro
. Lake Cheko is not reported on any map prior to 1928 (the year of the second Kulik expedition), including the 1883 map of Eastern Siberia compiled by the Central Headquarters of the Czarist army, and subsequently updated on the basis of traveller’s information, or the sketch maps of the Tunguska site compiled by Obruchev (1925)
and Suslov (1927)
on the basis of Evenki testimonies. Concerning eyewitness accounts, Vasilyev et al. (1981)
collected 708 testimonies. When ‘Cheko’ is mentioned, eyewitness testimonies refer generally not to ‘Lake Cheko’, but to a ‘River Cheko’, i.e. to a river that flows into the River Kimchu before the latter flows into Lake Cheko (Fig. 2
). ‘Lake Cheko’ is named only one time by Evenk Dmitriev (born in 1924!) who reported in 1964 the hearsay by other people. He mentions ‘Cheko’ as a reference point without any connection to the 1908 event. Conversely, Koshelev (1963)
notes that ‘The Evenk Doptyna (Doptyna Praskovia Grigorevna, born in 1880), who lives in the Mutorai factory and was hunting in these areas when she was young, states that only a swamp was present on the site of Lake Cheko’.