Landsat Data Illustrate Ancient Sites

Landsat 7 imagery acquired on November 22, 2009, defines a series of ancient walls developed to capture wild animals. The study sites are in the deserts of modern Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. The low walls, called desert kites, are roughly one meter high and some are as long as 60 kilometers. Constructed to channel herds of animals, the walls led them to what some believe were killing pits. Studies indicate the walls were common 2,300 years ago and later abandoned, replaced by other means of capturing animals.

The walls can be seen in the Landsat sub scene because they contrast with their immediate surroundings. The box and circular shapes suggest man-made features rather than 'natural' formations. Archaeologists studying the features find them consistent with information about the ancient animal traps.

More information about the desert features can be found at

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010