In the south of the Arabian Peninsula, near the city of Ma'rib, about 100 km east of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, some funnel-shaped kite structures catch the eye, but in their construction they differ fundamentally from the real classic kites. With a length of just 120 to 130 m, these structures are very short and compact. In addition, the two guiding fences here do not lead towards a catch enclosure or a pitfall, but end in a short parallel constriction, on the left side of which there are something like open "boxes".

If there is no deadly trap at the end of the funnel, could it be that these kites were not for hunting but for herding? Perhaps they played a role in the domestication of the previously wild dromedary, which is said to have taken place in this region. Were free-roaming dromedaries perhaps herded together here and at the end led individually into the side boxes and fixed there to be milked, sheared or bridled?

Images courtesy of Google Earth™

Around three thousand years ago Ma'rib, the place in front of whose gates these kites are located, was the glorious capital of the ancient kingdom of Sheba. This was the starting point of the famous "Incense Trade Route", over which endless caravans brought precious items such as frankincense, myrrh, spices and precious stones to the Mediterranean and as far as Damascus for many centuries.

Could these unusual kites be connected to the Incense Trade Road? What if this is where the dromedaries were prepared for their long march, or even if these were the packing stations of antiquity? The boxes at the end of each kite are ideal for tethering several animals and then loading them comfortably from the side from the intermediate box.
Until now all this is pure phantasy. But before we don't have any datings, everything is possible.

These pictures are only a small selection. All the objects I found are included in the following download (Google Earth required): Download Google Earth placemarks >