Link: Desert kites from ancient hunters

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National Geographic is running a fascinating story about “desert kites”, ancient structures dating to the Iron Age or earlier in Central Asia and the Levant: “Giant ‘Arrows’ Seen From Space Point to a Vanished World”. They are hunting traps that work on the psychology of herding antelopes, who will avoid a low wall or ditch and can thereby be herded into traps.

Equally striking, Amirov’s team found dozens of desert kites arrayed like a giant net across a hundred miles of tablelands east of the Aral Sea. Such a huge construction project hints at a collective hunting effort by large numbers of ancient nomads. They could have harvested entire antelope herds, Amirov writes. The haul of meat must have far exceeded the needs of immediate consumption. The excess was probably traded away. Today these kites still stand with their V-shaped mouths gaping northward, awaiting a ghostly migration that never comes.