The relatively high frequency of hunting scenes in contrast to pastoral ones could also reflect the greater risk invested in hunting forays, and therefore perhaps more accompanying rituals.
Wild species targeted as prey by Neolithic hunters included: the aurochs (now extinct large-horned wild cattle), onager, ibex, bezoar goat, oryx, addax, and gazelle.
The uniformly light color of the sandstone surfaces explains why the Neolithic artists had to incise or peck the images deeply into the rock: so that sunlight raking across them would cast shadows demarcating the outlines of the figures.
The most common Neolithic scenes are of hunter-herders with bows and arrows and throwing sticks, which are similar to a boomerang.
By scratching through the varnish and revealing the lighter colored underlying rock, it was possible to create bold images.
Many of the rock outcrops bearing Neolithic images never developed dark desert varnish at all.
The hunter is usually aided by a pack of hunting dogs.
Although these people were part-time pastoralists with herds of sheep and goats, the art suggests that hunting played an important role in their subsistence.
In archaeological terminology, there are two categories of dating methods: absolute and relative.
Absolute dating utilizes one or more of a variety of chronometric techniques to produce a computed numerical age, typically with a standard error.
Another way that precise dating can be achieved is if the artist records the actual date of his or her creation, the name of a leader of known reign, or a distinctive historical event, like the inscription shown in the previous chapter about King Yousif Assar Yathar’s invasion of the Najran region in 518 CE.
Then, however, it must be clear that the artist is referring to his or her own time, and not providing historical commentary.
The climate was not stable, however, and around 7000 BCE, monsoon patterns shifted northward, causing the Arabian Peninsula to be more like a savanna than a desert.