Desert kites


The term “kites” was first given by two British Royal Air Force pilots after the 1st World War, when they discovered the features while flying mail above the Syrian desert from Cairo to Baghdad. On the ground they saw numerous installations that looked triangular in shape, but the bases of the triangles were missing and at the apex there was a small enclosure. Kites occur throughout the Near East where large stones and boulders were available, e.g. in the Harrat (lava deserts). The most prominent kites typically consist of kilometer-long guiding walls, ending in a hectare-sized enclosure. In Jordan, at least 550 kites are counted, and another 252 in Saudi Arabia.

Desert-Kites-Featured1-300x225            fig1

Research in the field proved them to be hunting installations for game such as gazelle, orax and wild ass. The “kites” are built of 2 low stone walls with lengths that can stretch for hundreds of metres and with enclosure in the apex that look like a closed yard.In one hunting ‘event’ 5,500 years ago, hunters appear to have herded at least 93 gazelles into a kite and killed the animals. This may have signified the beginning of the end for many game animals in the northern Levant region.


davidkennedy_kitemain-420x0   Jordan-wheels kite2 kite2 


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