Science: Archaeologists Find 9,000 Year Old Shrine in Jordan Desert

The Story:

Archaeologists working in the desert in Jordan have found an ancient temple. Very ancient. It appears to have been created around 7,000 BC. Furthermore, the location of the temple is itself fascinating. It is close to a “desert kite,” that is, a structure for a specialized form of hunting.


The Neolithic people of the Levant 9000 years ago used to create large triangular structures, two converging stone walls, that would guide gazelles in the direction of an enclosure at the apex, where they could be corralled and slaughtered. It was, then, a gazelle trap, and the fruits of a specialized form of hunt.

The archaeological team included some participants from Jordan’s Al Hussein Bin Talal University and some from France’s French Institute of the Near East. The site was excavated during the 2021 digging season.

What is fascinating about the new discovery is that the shrine was created near the desert kite, and that the shrines within itself a miniature model of the larger trap/site. It appears that the hunters of that distant time were sacralizing their activity. Hunting was not ‘just a living,’ it was sacred.

Strange New Worlds:

The researchers, in a statement, said that the traps were “the center of … cultural, economic and even symbolic life in this marginal zone,” for that now-little-understood population.

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