A unique ritual site for mass hunting gazelles in the Neolithic

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An archaeological excavation project carried out since 2012 by a Franco-Jordanian team in the mountains of Al Jafr’s Khashabiyah in the desert from Jordan has just made a surprising discovery. The team indeed reports the uncovering of structures which constitute the oldest known architectural model in the world since it dates from 7,000 years BC. This model includes, according to the archaeologists, “desert kites”. These are structures bounded by walls stones and can be several kilometers long. Their shape makes it possible to channel herds of prey, to route them to a bottleneck then to a restricted space for the kill. The authors attribute the development of these eight desert kites to the Ghassanid tribe. This tribe probably practiced collective hunting of a large number of gazelles through these structures.

A site for hunting and rituals

The team of archaeologists also discovered a ritual installation at the level of the site, which includes an altar, animal dolls but also two stone stelae. These have been cut to look like human beings, which they are almost the size of.

The collective hunting practiced by the Ghassanids therefore seemed to be linked to a cult, but the discoverers do not say more about it. It is pointed out that this discovery is made in a remote region of Jordan where it is difficult to carry out archaeological excavations, which makes this discovery of the culture prehistoric to Middle East even more valuable.

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