Sacred Spaces vs. Public "Billboards" in Saudi Arabian Rock Art Placement

Author(s): Sandra Olsen

Year: 2016


Saudi Arabia has a rich cultural heritage that is amply represented in the extensive rock art from north to south along the western half of the Arabian Peninsula. Two petroglyph localities, Jubbah and Shuwaymis, were just awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Representing a wide temporal range and diverse styles, it is clear that the art is concentrated adjacent to ancient lakes, along wadis, and around other sources of ephemeral pools of rainwater. This study examines the distribution of the petroglyphs and contrasts hidden alcoves and places with difficult access and low visibility with large cliff faces in the open at Jubbah, Shuwaymis, and a southern region known as Bi’r Hima. The time periods and species represented on major panels at these localities will be compared to resolve whether or not some knowledge was restricted to select members of nomadic communities.

Cite this Record

Sacred Spaces vs. Public "Billboards" in Saudi Arabian Rock Art Placement. Sandra Olsen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403485)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;