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No. 96: Nov-Dec 1994

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The "kites" or "keyhole" structures of the middle east

Thousands of walled structures decorate the deserts and plains of the Middle East. Most are V-shaped terminating in a cul de sac studded with large rock piles. (See illustration.) Most of the wall arms are 300-3,000 meters long. They are constructed of basalt rocks from ancient lava flows. Artifacts found nearby suggest ages of at least 7,000 years. Younger, but very similar, structures have been found in Central Asia.

Kite or keyhole structure of the Middle East
A. Betts of the University of Sydney has been exploring these walls and attempting to discern their purpose. The best explanation seems to be that the ancient inhabitants of the region drove herds of wild animals into the wide mouths of the kites and then slaughtered them when they were trapped at the corral-like ends. The worst explanation is that extraterrestrials built them for some unknown purpose!

(Anderson, Ian; "Prehistoric Prey Met Death through a Keyhole," New Scientist, p. 15, September 24, 1994.)

Comment. Some kite walls extend 30 kilometers (18 miles) and represent a considerable investment of labor. See also: Field, Henry; "Early Man in North Arabia," Natural History, 29:32, 1929. Of course, aliens could have herded ancient humans into the kites. Remember the classic sci-fi story: "To Serve Man"?

From Science Frontiers #96, NOV-DEC 1994. 1994-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987