Biblical Archaeology Review 35:6, November/December 2009


Eastern Desert, Jordan

Delicately carved into this basalt rock from the ancient lava fields of eastern Jordan is a seemingly whimsical depiction of music and revelry dating to about 2,000 years ago. A nude female figure with spindly legs and wild flowing hair plays a long flute-like instrument, while a male figure is shown dancing, the position of his hands and feet evoking the playful tunes of the flute’s melody. Below the fanciful scene, an inscription written in the so-called Safaitic script of the ancient Arabian tribes of the region records the name of the artist, the name of his father and grandfather, and an all-too-brief description of the subject of the drawing itself: “By Aqrab son of Kaset son of Sa‘ed is this songstress.”

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