KITE - Multi-scale approach to the environment of desert kites: human/environment relations and implantation and subsistence strategies in the ancient urban context (2012)

Scientific coordinator: Hamida Seba (LIRIS) –
Disciplines: Information technology – Archaeology – Geography


Desert kites are architectural structures imagined and built at the borders of human-made areas, which are found in large numbers in the Near East along the edges of urban agglomerations. Their construction and use might date back to the Neolithic period. They testify to a capacity for joint planning with sharing of technical knowledge and empirical learning, without which no large construction would have been possible. They represent an obvious sign of large-scale territorial development.

This project aims to establish a spatial inventory of desert kites in the vast territories covered by these structures, using methods and tools enabling automatic identification of kites on satellite images, which would make it possible to circumscribe this phenomenon spatially and to detect other hunting or agricultural structures presenting similarities to kites, but which must be culturally differentiated from them.

Large-scale identification of kites can only be achieved via gradual, closely cooperative work between archaeological, geographic and information technology experts.

To complete the research on kites efficiently, given their structured shape, graph modelling is used in addition to the usual satellite image recognition techniques.

The expectations of this project are to propose a set of models for desert kites that will be applicable to other archaeological remains, as well as pattern identification approaches for images, and to offer elements of response to questions surrounding desert kites, including their integration into the environment.