The article presents important results from the Middle Draa Project (MDP) in southern Morocco related to two mid-1st millennium CE hilltop settlements (hillforts) that were associated with significant rock art assemblages. The combination of detailed survey and radiocarbon dating of these remarkable sites provides a unique window on the Saharan world in which the pecked engravings, predominantly of horses, were produced. As the horse imagery featured on the walls of buildings within the settlement, the radiocarbon dating around the mid-1st millennium CE can also be applied in this instance to the rock art. The rarity of rock art of this period within habitation sites is also discussed and it is argued that its occurrence at both these locations indicates that they had some special social or sacred significance for their occupants. While it is commonplace for rock art of this era, featuring horses and camels, to be attributed by modern scholars to mobile pastoralists, a further argument of the paper is that the desert societies were in a period of transformation at this time, with the development of oases. The association of the rock art imagery with sedentary settlements, where grain was certainly being processed and stored, is thus an additional new element of contextual information for the widespread Saharan images of horses and horse and riders.