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The Holocene Wet Phase, as it is called, fluctuated greatly between humid and dry periods and then reverted to a more consistent arid condition around 3800 BCE, as the rain belt retreated southward (Parker et al. The oldest known petroglyphs in Saudi Arabia are believed to date to the Neolithic period or Early Arabian Pastoral, which appears to coincide with at least part of the Holocene Wet Phase.
These images are typically carved or pecked deeply into the rock surface.
For some 20,000 years, during the Late Pleistocene epoch (Ice Age), the Arabian Peninsula was overall very arid, as it is today.Sometimes the proximity of a campsite or settlement that is dated directly by absolute dating methods is considered helpful for determining the age of an apparently associated petroglyph panel, but caution must be exercised, since it does not always mean that the site’s inhabitants were the artists who created the art.Often there are multiple sites of varying ages nearby and the petroglyph itself may be a palimpsest of images created through the ages.Given the current status of direct chronometric dating methods for Arabian petroglyphs, it is rare that the precise age of a rock art panel can be determined.However, all is not lost, and it is possible to establish a temporal sequence that can be quite edifying.