Ancient people living in what is today Saudi Arabia and Jordan carved large-scale plans to trap large animals, called kites, into the rocks. Scientists who analyzed the finds say the ability to transfer an airshow plan of this magnitude into a real structure marks a milestone in human intelligence and engineering.
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Researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research have uncovered evidence of two aerial view plans of ancient rock-hewn megastructures in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Developing large-scale plans for massive structures is common today, but for humans thousands of years ago, it was no small feat.
The two plots are 267 kilometers apart and both date between 7,000 and 8,000 years old. Each rock face contains scale models of desert kites—massive animal traps—transported onto the two-dimensional surface of the rock. The Naqsh in Jordan is 80 cm long and 32 cm wide, while the Naqsh in Saudi Arabia is much larger, measuring 382 cm long and 235 cm wide. The team’s research is published today in Plus one.
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“We were immediately surprised by the similarity of the drawing to kite structures in the desert,” study author Olivier Barge wrote in an email to Gizmodo. “This is how we realized that the engravings were in fact precise plans on a grand scale.”
Desert kites are massive structures made of stone walls and pits that have allowed humans to trap and trap animals. According to researchers, desert kites were discovered as early as the 1920s, and thousands of them have been cataloged throughout the Middle East. Both petroglyphs were found by study author Wael Abu Aziza and colleagues in 2015, while the actual Saudi kite was discovered in 2014 and the Jordanian kite in 2013. Remy Crassard, lead author of the manuscript, Barge, and Abu Aziza studied the images and created models They digitized the excavated stones and matched them to pre-existing kite structures via satellite imagery, which led them to nearby structures in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
“The fact that it was only by looking at the satellite imagery that we were able to realize that the features observed in the field were part of a desert kite layout is interesting in itself: it reminds us of the difficulty of perceiving these large scale features from the ground, given their large size. and its complex topographical environment,” Barge said.
While these plans and kites are very old, they are not the oldest fishing structures ever found. Several years ago, archaeologists working near Mexico City discovered it 15,000-year-old pits containing butchered mammoth boneswhich they say were giant, deliberately constructed snares.
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