How early men in SA used this mysterious stone technology to trap animals for meat 2,000 yrs ago

Stephen Nartey October 03, 2022
Light Detection And Ranging, or LiDAR, technology illustrates where the stone walls of the desert kites' funnels were erected. Image via Daily Mail/M. Caruana/M. Lombard

Up until its discovery in South Africa, the early technology of using funnel-like shaped rocks to trap a good deal of animals was attributed to Middle East countries like Syria, Jordan and Israel. Archaeological findings revealed however that early men in South Africa applied the technology of using funnel-like shaped rocks to trap animals and kill them for food. 

The V-shaped stone wall which is known as a desert kite is believed to have been used earlier by Africans before its discovery in the Middle East, according to researchers. The archaeologists used laser scanning techniques to unravel the desert kites in the Keimoes region of South Africa. 

These scanning results revealed the stone wall traps were thousands of years old. The researchers explained that the early men used this approach to disrupt the migration of animals and led them into the rock traps where they become helpless after falling into the deep holes. They were designed by the early men to kill animals like deer, cattle and pigs. 

The funnel-like shaped rock trap is built by erecting two tall walls measuring a hundred feet long in a pattern reminiscent of the V shape. The thickness of the trap wall measures up to three feet by five feet high. An opening is left to allow the animals being pursued to use to entrap themselves. 

This is what early men in the Bronze Age used in hunting down animals and storing the remaining carcasses for food. The archaeologists observed that scores of stone wall traps were designed in the path of the animals in order to trap them when they were migrating. 

The researchers further indicated that due to the sizes of the V-shaped rock traps, they went unnoticed for a long time by many archaeologists.

According to archaeologist Shamil Amirov, the desert kites would elude many researchers at face value, until you observe them from above. She told the National Geographic that many seasoned archaeologists have missed the mark because of the obscure nature of the stone wall traps and how they were built. 

The desert kites derived their name from pilots who first noticed them in the 1920s while flying across the sky. One characteristic of the desert kites is that they are often scattered to create multiple opportunities for the hunters to catch their game. 

A professor of Stone Age at the University of Johannesburg, Marlize Lombard, said they identified scores of stone wall traps when they started exploring the subject. She said they found many of such desert kites in 2018 built around a small hill suggesting it was a migratory path for trapping animals. 

She said in 2019 when they used the laser technology while in the sky they spotted many of the desert kites which ordinarily would not have been spotted if they were on the ground, according to journal archaeological and anthropological sciences. 

The researchers said the desert kites observed in South Africa are similar to what they found in the Negev desert. They explained that the findings have enabled them to understand the migratory behavior of the animals in ancient times and how early men adapted and used the knowledge to their benefit. 

Professor Lombard said the desert kites found in South Africa could be 2000 years old. She was of the view that those living in the Keimoes region are descendants of the early hunters who designed the desert kites.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 3, 2022


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