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 This photo provided by Jordan Tourism Ministry shows two carved standing stones at a remote Neolithic site in Jordan’s eastern desert.
The Neolithic-era complex is among the oldest from the Stone AgeImage: AP Photo/picture alliance

Archaeologists discover 9,000-year-old hunting complex

February 23, 2022

The ritualistic site in the Jordanian desert contains some of the "world's earliest large-scale human built structures." Archaeologists believe it was once used by deer hunters.


Archaeologists have found an ancient complex in a remote desert in Jordan, believed to have been used by deer hunters almost 9,000 years ago.

The complex, where humans are believed to have performed rituals to hunt gazelles, is part of a campsite that had been excavated by a team of French and Jordanian archaeologists last October. 

The team also found more than 250 artifacts, including two statues with carvings of human faces and exquisite animal figures at the ritualistic site.

Stones discovered at the ritualistic site
Stones discovered at the ritualistic Neolithic site in Jordan's eastern desertImage: AP Photo/picture alliance

Campsite among the oldest from Stone Age

The animal figurines, archaeologists believe, were used by humans to invoke supernatural forces for success in hunting.

Besides the artifacts, the team found long converging stone walls designed to entrap gazelles into an enclosure. These walls, known as "desert kites," were several kilometers long.

Though desert kites are found in other arid regions of the Middle East and southwest Asia, the ones discovered in Jordan are believed to be the oldest, best-preserved and largest, the experts said.

'Desert kites' are the earliest known human structures

The desert kites are the "earliest large-scale human built structures worldwide known to date," the South Eastern Badia Archaeological Project team (SEBA) said in a statement.  

"They attest to the rise of extremely sophisticated mass hunting strategies, unexpected in such an early time frame," SEBA added.

One of the co-directors of the archaeological team, Wael Abu Azizeh, said the ritualistic complex had "no rival in the world from the Stone Age." 

rm/nm (Reuters, AFP)