Seasonal use of corrals and game traps (desert kites) in Armenia

Dan Malkinson, Guy Bar-Oz, Boris Gasparyan, Amnon Nachmias, Eli Crater Gershtein, Dani Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some 180 desert kites were reported from Armenia, with puzzling aspects regarding the typological variability and distribution patterns. Although the study of kites in southwest Asia has made many recent advances, their dating and cultural context remain uncertain due to apparent limitations. A division of them includes two major categories, v-shaped hunting kites, and enclosure kites. The latter have two subgroups: those with and those lacking guiding walls. Here, we analyze the architectural characteristics and geographical settings of v-shaped and enclosure kites in order to shed new light on their past function. It appears that the rare v-shaped kites are limited to the topographical lower end of the kites’ phenomenon in Armenia. On the other hand, the enclosure kites are found across the topographical range of the phenomenon, between about 900 and 1500 m above msl. Furthermore, the typical Armenian enclosure kite has a heart-like morphology, with trapping pits located upwards and ‘behind’ the main entrance of the enclosure. Such a layout is uncommon further south in the deserts of the Near East, but documented for game traps on the Ustyurt Plateau, and similar structures were used for hunting and herding in Scandinavia. We thus suggest that the two Armenian enclosure kite types were used for hunting wild game, most likely Red Deer (with guiding walls); and for keeping livestock (without guiding walls). We also suggest that the hunters and/or herders that constructed the kites practiced seasonal vertical movement between winter and summer grazing lands.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)285-304
Number of pages20
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 10 Jan 2018


  • Armenia
  • Enclosures
  • Game traps
  • Livestock
  • Red deer
  • Seasonality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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