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Keywords:

  • Thamudic E;
  • Hismaic;
  • epigraphy;
  • landscape archaeology;
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Among the thousands of Hismaic inscriptions found in the Ḥismā desert of southern Jordan are the signatures of countless authors and artists who carved their names, thoughts and drawings into stone. These signed carvings, which typically give not only the name of the author but also, on occasion, the name of his father, grandfather and even great-grandfather, provide an extraordinary record of the actual individuals who roamed the desert wadis 2000 years ago. This article, which focuses on a collection of Hismaic inscriptions and drawings from the Wādī Ḥafīr canyon of southern Jordan, illustrates how traditional epigraphic study of these names, combined with a GIS-based landscape approach, can provide a much clearer picture of not only who was carving the inscriptions and where, but also how the various authors may have been related or acquainted.