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WINNETT, Frederick V., & William L. Reed.

Ancient Records from North Arabia.

With contributions by J. T. Milik and J. Starcky.

Published: Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970

Stock code: 92591

Price: £150

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition. Inevitably common institutionally, very much less so commercially. “In 1962 … Frederick V. Winnett and William L. Reed (1970) spent a month travelling around northern Saudi Arabia conducting an archaeological and epigraphic survey. At an outcrop known as Al Qal’ah, four miles from Sakakah, they recorded seven images of ostriches, along with Thamudic and Nabataean inscriptions. West of the qasr at Sakakah, a small sandstone hill called Burnus bore shallow engravings of 13 or so female figures wearing flat-topped hats with fringe along with some indeterminate animals. Perhaps because the arms of the women are bent at the elbow and their hands are up in the air, Winnett and Reed referred to them as the “dancing girls.” They noted, however, that the scene equally could depict praying. A lion was identified along with Thamudic inscriptions just five km from the oasis of Al Jawf. At Ghar al Hamam, 3 km northeast of Tayma, they found figures of ibexes and domestic cattle alongside Thamudic inscriptions. At the summit of Jabal Ghunaym, 14 km southeast of Tayma, they flipped over a stone slab to reveal a petroglyph of a human female, which they interpreted as a goddess. On their descent, they located three triangular heads with pairs of horns that had been reported earlier by Philby (1957). These are associated with a crescent moon and stars and may represent aspects of the god Salm” (Arabian Rock Art Heritage website, retrieved 12/06/2014).

Octavo. Original sand cloth, title gilt on red panel to the spine, and in red to the upper board together with gilt block of a petroglyph. 4 coloured plates, numerous illustrations to the text, many full-page, including a 34-page section at the rear. Just a little rubbed, corners bumped, else a very good copy.

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