Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 1093–1121 | Cite as

Addressing the Desert Kites Phenomenon and Its Global Range Through a Multi-proxy Approach

  • Rémy Crassard
  • Olivier Barge
  • Charles-Edmond Bichot
  • Jacques Élie Brochier
  • Jwana Chahoud
  • Marie-Laure Chambrade
  • Christine Chataigner
  • Kamel Madi
  • Emmanuelle Régagnon
  • Hamida Seba
  • Emmanuelle Vila


This paper argues that the wide geographical distribution of desert kites, which are huge archaeological structures of stone visible from satellite images, must be more broadly acknowledged as a momentous factor in the study of their variability and function. This is important so that researchers can more accurately understand and interpret their impact on biodiversity, landscapes and subsistence patterns. The first results and perspectives of the Globalkites research project are discussed and presented. Often considered as hunting traps, the kites could have also been used for animal husbandry. In a broader archaeological context, where kites seem to have been operating from the Neolithic to recent historical times, we propose an interdisciplinary approach at the crossroads of anthropology (archaeology and ethnology), geomatics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), geostatistics, mathematics and computerized data processing and geoarchaeological and bioarchaeological sciences (isotope studies, paleoclimatology, archaeozoology…). The principal aims of the project are to clearly articulate the variability of the structures and their relationship with the function and chronology of the kites. It is also crucial to discuss the wide distribution of these structures across the Middle East and Central Asia as a global phenomenon and the ideas that explain the dispersal and movements of people and/or traditions must be addressed.


Desert kites Arid zones GIS Geoarchaeology Hunting Pastoralism Interdisciplinary research 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rémy Crassard
    • 1
  • Olivier Barge
    • 1
  • Charles-Edmond Bichot
    • 2
  • Jacques Élie Brochier
    • 3
  • Jwana Chahoud
    • 1
  • Marie-Laure Chambrade
    • 1
  • Christine Chataigner
    • 1
  • Kamel Madi
    • 4
  • Emmanuelle Régagnon
    • 1
  • Hamida Seba
    • 4
  • Emmanuelle Vila
    • 1
  1. 1.CNRS, UMR 5133 ‘Archéorient’Maison de l’Orient et de la MéditerranéeLyonFrance
  2. 2.École Centrale de LyonUMR 5205 ‘Liris’ÉcullyFrance
  3. 3.Aix-Marseille Université (AMU)CNRS, UMR 7269 ‘Lampea’Aix-en-ProvenceFrance
  4. 4.Université de Lyon, CNRSUniversité Lyon 1 UMR 5205 ‘Liris’VilleurbanneFrance

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