Martin Carver
2008 Antiquity  
The Basalt Desert of north-east Jordan is today one of the most thinly populated areas of the Middle East, peopled only by nomads and settled bedouin. It is also one of the richest areas for archaeological remains. Best-known are the immense prehistoric hunting traps, first spotted by RAF pilots in the 1920s, known as 'kites' -thousands survive. Scattered at various places amongst these are what appear to be small settlements though some are extensive enough to be thought of as 'villages'. They
more » ... as 'villages'. They often lie on high ground near areas of mud-pan which frequently floods in winter and where water can be conserved by creating deep pits. The 'huts' are usually curvilinear. Forms vary but the most striking are Wheel-houses. In their ideal form they consist of a small stone built inner circle (the hub), stone walls radiating outwards from it (spokes) to a large outer stone wall (the rim). In some instances there is a further element: a ring of small circular enclosures. Many others are far more amorphous and have been called 'Jellyfish'. Some 'huts' are as much as 50m in diameter and may date back to the sixth millennium BC. They have been identified widely but this photograph shows one of the most extensive groups on the western side of the Azraq Oasis. The view is north-east (APA05/DG106, 3 October 2005) taken using a Nikon digital SLR. Image and caption courtesy of David Kennedy and Robert Bewley.
doi:10.1017/s0003598x00096393 fatcat:vt6nhdwydngavojqwv5x57yury