Some very interesting work done by a Professor David Kennedy from the university of Western Australia was brought to my attention today.  He spends considerable time assessing google-earth images as a method of aerial archeology of the middle east. His maps of the lava flows of southeastern Syria are particularly interesting (1) as this demonstrates how deity funnelled armies, particularly along the Assyrian-Egyptian axis past Damascus and then subsequently through the holy land. This was undoubtably the purpose of deity, and examples of this intention are seen in Daniel 11. These lava flows made the access points such as Edrei so important that Glubb would call Da’ara the Thermoplyae of Syria.

In his observations are the prevalence of rock constructions called wheels and kites.  It has been postulated by many that the idea of kites were either a method of herding game into traps, or the collection of water into cisterns or for other agricultural projects (4).  The use of water in marginal country such as the Negev, eastern Jordan, and eastern Syria can provide critical support for occupation of smaller villages. These traps were critical before the discovery of lime. The burning of limestone provided the means to waterproof cisterns, and these valuable containers of water meant the occupation of areas where previously smaller rainfalls meant there was no expectation to continue living during the summer months, and periods of low rainfall. An astonishing example of water collection was the cisterns dug into the summit of Masada, estimated by some to be sufficient water for in excess of ten years!

Deity called through the prophet Jeremiah to trust in Him as the source of life, and not on fractured cisterns Jer 2:13; 14:3.

The burning of lime is mentioned in Isa 33:12.

  1. see article Aug 9,2011
  2. A collection of wheel photographs from Harrat ash-Sham can be seen at
  3. Work on the kites of Negev can be read here:
  4. Ofer Bar-Yosef : Pastoralism in the Levant: archaeological materials in anthropological perspectives