Archaeologists discover the oldest known blueprints

Archaeologists discover the oldest known blueprints

Smithsonian Magazine reports:

Stone Age hunters in the Middle East and Central Asia used giant stone structures to trap wild animals. Today, archaeologists refer to these massive constructions as desert kites because of how they look from above—like a kite with several long tails.

Now, in a study published last week in the journal PLOS One, researchers say they have found stone engravings that are accurate, to-scale depictions of desert kites that date to between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago. This makes them the oldest known realistic plans for large, human-made structures, the authors write.

Humans have recreated their surroundings in art forms, including sculptures and paintings, for at least 40,000 years. But what makes the newly found blueprints noteworthy is their precision.

“The amazing discovery is that the plans are to scale,” Rémy Crassard, a co-author of the study and an archaeologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research, tells Scientific American’s Tom Metcalfe. The depictions are “constrained by shape, by symmetry and by dimensions,” he adds to the publication. “We had no idea that people at that time were able to do that with such accuracy.”

These diagrams also reveal surprises about Stone Age people’s ability to visualize objects. Desert kites could measure larger than two football fields in size, with some lines of stones stretching more than three miles long. As a result, the complex structures can only be seen in full from the air. While no one at the time would have been able to get this vantage point, the drawings take a bird’s-eye view. [Continue reading…]

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