Bootes Seasons Marker
© 2017: Israel Rock Art, All Rights Reserved
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 Rockart show us.
For example, today to tell the date and time we just have to glance at our watch. In the past, it wasn’t so simple. 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.
This Negev Rockart presents us with an example, of star knowledge, that marks the season’s appearance in a single glance. In this Rockart we see four figures, in a circle like an arrangement. It is actually the same figure that is repeated in different positions in the sky according to seasons. The figure is the constellation Bootes, which is recognizable by its kite-like body shape and the dagger.
Fig1 Left: Constellation position taken from a chart. Right: Bootes Seasons Marker. Negev Desert Rockart
The different positions show the constellation Bootes rising pose for each season. In the Spring it comes to life, in the Summer it stands erect and in Fall it disappears from the sky as illustrated by the lying figure. The ibex ( Fertility God see article – Ibex and Rockart) takes Boote’s spot, which is absent from the sky during the winter time. This marks the winter time a blessed rainy season until Bootes appears in the sky again.
So who is cleverer we or the old man?
More deciphering, in a new book Rock Art in Israel, available online.