Why has there been a continual migration of groups through the Negev? In ancient times, the Deserts of Arabia grew slowly harsher and drier. As pasturelands disappeared through drought, the tribes of Arabia would move into Sinai and Negev, seeking better lands. They could not enter the farmlands of what is now southern Jordan, for the kingdom of Edom held a long grip on these fertile hills. They could not emigrate farther north than the Negev, because the Israelite nation firmly held the lush green hills of Judea. They could not immigrate into Egypt, for that land was held by the Egyptians of old.
On the other hand, the Sinai and Negev were considered desert and wilderness by the nations that surrounded them. They held little interest in what tribe currently held sway in that area, and thus, the Sinai and Negev were left to subjugation of the tribes of Arabia. There was, however, some concern about raiding. In order to combat the tribal menace from Arabia, the nations that bordered on the desert built walls and forts to protect themselves. The Egyptians built a wall on the border of Egypt and Sinai to protect their border. The Edomites built a wall along their eastern boarder, and eventually the Moabites incorporated walls into their line of fortifications that faced the desert. As far back as Gideon in the Old Testament, tribes came raiding from the desert. (Joshua ?:??)
And so it is that the Nabataeans like the Arabian tribes before and after them, began to slowly move out of the Arabian Desert and into the Sinai and Negev region. Diodorus tells us that as far back as 250 BC, Nabataean villages had sprung up along the shores of the Red Sea, and at important oasis in the desert. These small settlements would eventually grow to become important trade cities, located along the ancient trade routes that crisscrossed the wilderness. As the Nabataeans moved from being a nomadic people to being civilization builders, they applied their skills in water collection, so that they could provide their caravan stations with water. These water systems were expanded as the caravan stations grew in size, and eventually became small cities in their own right.
Gibson, Dan, The Nabataeans, Builders of Petra, CanBooks, Saskatchewan, Canada 2002
Gibson, Dan, The Nabataean Collection, CanBooks, Saskatchewan, Canada, 2003
Glueck, Nelson, Rivers in the Desert, A history of the Negev, The Norton Library, W. W. Norton & Company Inc, New York, 1959, 1968
Levy, Udi, The Lost Civilization of Petra, Bath Press Color Books, Glasgow, 1999
|Petra (A complete section in itself)||Bostra|
|Nabataens in the Negev||Wadi Rumm|
|Ruheiba||Meda'in Saleh: Tombs: Exteriors and Interiors|
|Avdat||Meda'in Saleh: Tomb Decorations, Falcons, Faces, etc|
|Elusa||Meda'in Saleh: Niches, Altars and God Blocks|
|The Wall||Where was Leuce Come? by Bob Lebling|
|Negev Wall||A Possible Solution for Leuce-Come By Dan Gibson|
|Archeological sites in Saudi Arabia||More South Forts|