Desert Kites: Ancient Technology of Hunters
This JPost article claims that a new study has “unlocked a key piece,” but as far as I can tell, the research merely confirms what was previously believed. Mazar, in his Archaeology of the Land of the Bible (1990), says something similar (pages 54-56). It’s an interesting phenomenon, and I note it here for those who have not studied some of the earlier periods of land of Israel.
University of Haifa researchers have just unlocked a key piece of the mystery of ancient desert survival, as part of their research on "desert kites" in the Negev and Arava regions.
The kites - so called because of their kite-like appearance to British pilots flying over the area in the early 1900s - resemble walls stretching over hundreds of meters of desert, meeting at angles with rounded trenches at the intersections.
The study, headed by zooarcheologist Dr. Guy Bar-Oz, archeologist Dr. Daniel Nadel and landscape ecologist Dr. Dan Malkinson, found that these structures were made by ancient desert people over 5,000 years ago as mass hunting apparatuses.
A number of such kites have been identified in Jordan, Syria, Israel and the Sinai. The archeological community has surmised that they were used for hunting purposes or as cattle pens.
Now, after surveying 11 kites and conducting digs at four different kite locations - from Givat Barnea in the North to Eilat in the South - and utilizing cutting edge measuring devices, two radiometric methods of dating, and aerial and ground photography, the team has concluded that the kites were constructed specifically to direct wild animals along the walls and convey them toward the trenches, where they could be hunted with ease....
"We were not taken by surprise by the technological ability; humans in that period were very similar to us in their capabilities. But nevertheless these were immense efforts," he said. "Some of the kites are spread across hundreds of meters, and the construction blocks of some of the traps are very large and heavy. We are definitely talking about wide-scope construction in a region that is challenging for survival."
HT: Joe Lauer