Two large inscribed stones found in the Middle East display the oldest known building plans drawn on a large scale, researchers say.
One of the carvings covers part of a rectangular stone found in a Jordanian camp dating back about 9,000 years. Two other inscriptions were made nearly 8,000 years ago on a rock discovered at the base of a cliff in Saudi Arabia.
carvings on these stones Visualize desert kites nearbyhuge structures once used to capture herds of animals, scientists reported May 17 Plus one. Desert kites consist of stone walls up to five kilometers long that narrow into large enclosures surrounded by pits Where the hunters trapped the animalssuch as deer and deer (SN: 4/18/11). Archaeologist Remy Crassard and his colleagues say the drawings of kites at the two sites closely resemble the shape, design and proportions of kites found in the desert near the site.
Scientists report that scale drawings etched into the rock may have served as maps that helped hunters plan strategies for driving herds of animals to specific desert kites. These engravings may also be blueprints for building desert kites, or public displays of the makers’ ability to transfer large three-dimensional structures onto small, flat surfaces.
As agriculture and animal domestication take hold in parts of the Middle East, regional hunting groups that build desert kites to hunt herds of wildebeest have kept a special interest in the massive hunting structures, says Crassard, of France’s National Center for Scientific Research in Lyon.
Maps and other ancient structure charts, designed for miniature drawings, date back to about 4,300 years ago in Mesopotamia. These drawings were not as accurate as the newly discovered desert kite etchings, Krassard says.