12 July 2021

Jabal Raat - Shuwaymis

Part of a UNESCO listed world heritage site rich in rock art, including figures of men, animals, palm trees and feet impressions, inscribed skilfully in life size shape. Some of these petroglyphs date to 14,000 years BP with life sized camel figures being from the Thamudic period 3000 years BP. At Jabal Raat six major clusters of rock art can be discerned. Although there is evidence on the lower slopes of Jabal Raat that some rocks with petroglyphs on them have been displaced since the petroglyphs were first made, this was undoubtedly a natural occurrence. Like Jubbah, the site has been in use over a prolonged period of time, certainly for most of the Holocene at least.  On one steeply sloping panel at Raat, about fifteen large cupules of 5–10 cm diameter occur. They appear to be the oldest surviving component of the site considered to be either of the final Pleistocene or the earliest Holocene. The surface of the panel has largely fallen victim to exfoliation since the cupules were made, and the original surface has best survived within the cupules. The same panel bears a series of archaic geometric motifs, such as circles, chronologically followed by hoof-prints, human footprints occurring in pairs and superimposed large motifs. Much of this panel is no longer accessible to work on because of a massive boulder gravity has placed above it. The flat underside of this boulder bears large petroglyphs that are also early, but a set of motifs on its present front face postdates the placement of the boulder.