Foot/sandal prints and ovaliods in the rock art assemblage Ramat Matred, the Negev Desert, Israel (ScienceDirect Publication: Journal of Arid Environments)

Publication date: August 2017
Source:Journal of Arid Environments, Volume 143
Author(s): Davida Eisenberg-Degen, George H. Nash
Studying the prints from Ramat Matred, their place within the different engraving phases and their relation to other motifs, abstracts, zoomorphs and inscriptions, several observations can be made referring to their date and possible meaning. Foot and sandal prints are not one of the most common motifs found in the Negev rock art. When examining the data globally, foot/sandal prints account for around 1–2% of images displayed. These prints present a rich variety of forms with many found clustered on a single panel. At Ramat Matred, prints are presented roughly ten times more often than at any other rock art site in the Negev with some 208 examples. These engravings are stylized, some represent feet, others sandals, though most are rather simplified elongated ovaloids with little other detail. Prints appear either as a single print or as a pair, with the feet/sandals set side-by-side or 'stepping' forward.Looking at the ‘Islamic’ rock art phase, the relationship between the foot/sandal prints and the formalized Arabic inscriptions, clarifies the cultural distinction and change in religious concepts and traditions that have occurred during the early historic period.