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Journal Articles Quaternary International Year : 2015

The ‘desert kites’ of the Ustyurt plateau


The Aralo-Caspian region includes a ninth of the total number of ‘desert kites’. These are located at a considerable distance from the large concentrations of the Near East and the Levant. A combined fieldwork and satellite image analysis, undertaken in September 2013 on the southwestern fringe of the Ustyurt plateau, allowed us to record and describe 143 kites of different morphological types and to obtain new chronological data. Within the framework of the Globalkites research project, set up at the scale of the whole distribution area of kites, a GIS database was constructed using a methodology successfully tested in other regions (Armenia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia). This paper is a detailed description of the kites of this region, focusing on location in the landscape, morphology, architecture and chronology. Despite the lack of accurate information about their use, relationships with animal migration routes can sometimes be suggested. Our chronological data show that the south-western Ustyurt kites have a long history of use and were abandoned only very recently. Some architectural details and morphological features, commonly observed on Near Eastern kites, lead to the conclusion that Ustyurt kites belong to a single phenomenon.
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hal-01224967 , version 1 (05-11-2015)



Olivier Barge, Jacques Élie Brochier, Jean-Marc Deom, Sala Renato, Arkadi Karakhanyan, et al.. The ‘desert kites’ of the Ustyurt plateau. Quaternary International, 2015, ⟨10.1016/j.quaint.2015.06.010⟩. ⟨hal-01224967⟩
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