Symbolism of the ibex motif in Negev rock art

Uzi Avner, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Wayne Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The male ibex is the dominant zoomorphic motif in rock art of the Negev desert, Israel. It recurs in thousands of petroglyphs, either alone or in association with several recurring images; commonly with dogs or other predators but also with hunters. These associations occur in all chronological phases of Negev rock art, implying that they had an enduring symbolic significance. Here we address only some aspects of ibex iconography, focusing on its association with dogs, hunters and astral symbols. We discuss the possible meaning of these associations with regard to the ritual hunting of ibex and connection to deities associated with rainfall, seasonal cycles and celestial constellations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Celestial constellations
  • Dog
  • Nubian ibex
  • Petroglyphs
  • Ritual hunting
  • Rock engravings


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