Kites in Saudi Arabia

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26 Citations (Scopus)


It has become increasingly common in archaeology to utilise virtual globes for regions where few if any aerial photographs are available. Saudi Arabia is one such and it has proved especially useful for identifying and mapping the prolific structures commonly referred to as the 'Works of the Old Men', most prominently kites. These are now generally accepted as hunting traps for migratory animals. Although a few were known in Saudi Arabia, the increasing availability of high-resolution 'windows' on virtual globes has revealed them in ever-larger numbers. Such windows can be exploited to define and map archaeological remains and develop methodologies. One particular region with such potential is Harret Khaybar. Progressive additions of high-resolution windows for this harra have revealed 917 kites. Beyond mere counting, analysis allows the development of typologies and identification of locally distinctive forms-notably the 'barbed' form; mapping and the interpretation of patterns in relation to geology, soils, water sources and vegetation; and associations with other 'works', with scope for creating at least relative chronologies. The present study provides data and preliminary analysis, and guidance for such a holistic ground-based archaeological project should the opportunity arise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-195
JournalArabian Archaeology and Epigraphy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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