Bootes Seasons Marker
Life in the past looks primitive to us, the 21st-century world citizens. Our tendency to belittle the early man stems from the massive knowledge and the technology we possess today. Interestingly to survive in ancient time man had to be more resourceful and knowledgeable about nature and world behavior as many Rock Art show us.
Today to tell the date and time we just have to glance at our watch, it wasn’t so simple in the past. Time was extracted from the cyclical arrival of stars, including the cycles of the Moon and Sun. One had to know the sky well and memorize the appearance of its 3000 visible stars throughout the year.
Bootes as Seasons Marker rock art
This Negev rock art presents us with an example, of star knowledge, that marks the season’s appearance in a single glance. In this rock art, we see three figures in a circle like an arrangement. It is actually the same repeated figure in different positions as seen in the sky according to seasons. The figure is the constellation Bootes, which is recognizable by its kite-like body shape and the dagger. This sky intricate knowledge dates this rock art to the Greek era appearance in Israel about 2000BP.
The different figure positions show the constellation Bootes rising pose for each season. The star Arcturus, in Bootes constellation, is the fourth brightest star in the northern hemisphere, has been used as ‘the star of spring’ and as the ‘star of autumn’ in Minoan and Classical Greece myths. In the Spring times, the constellation Bootes rises leaning as if it comes back to life after its departure in Fall, in the Summer it stands erect and in Fall it vanishes from the sky as illustrated by the constellation falling positions, in Fig,1, signifying death or disappearance from the night sky. The ibex ( Fertility God see article – Ibex and Rockart) takes Boote’s spot, which is absent from the sky during the wintertime. This marks the wintertime a blessed rainy season until Bootes appears in the sky again and the hot and dry season begins.
So who is cleverer we or the old man?
More deciphering, in a new book Rock Art in Israel, available online.
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