Aspects of Bronze Age art of southern Arabia: The pictorial landscape and its relation to economic and socio-political status


Before discussing the latest developments in the understanding of the Bronze Age of Arabia, however, a brief synthesis of earlier material is presented here and what is believed to be its relevant context archaeologically and historically. In terms of the economic and socio-political forces which the Arabian Bronze Age might have created, Gilman noted that in the European case as a whole, there was a 'significant horizon of change in the mid-third millennium B.C.' (2). Coles and Harding suggested that three major features characterised this change: 1) the continued construction of large monuments; 2) the rise of the elites and the origins of permanent social stratification; and 3) the large-scale development of long-distance trade (3). This paper will focus on the European model and evaluate the above characteristics in relation to Bronze Age development in southwest Arabia. Additionally, recent archaeological studies that attempt to interpret the nature of Bronze Age art, both rupestre and menhir, within the context of landscape recognition and symbolism must be acknowledged (4). Finally, the menhir material from the Yemeni Jol is placed in a context related to an expression of Bronze Age art found in the larger circum-Mediterranean world as well as in its Arabian context.


Sociology and Anthropology

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Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy