Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art

Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art
A Rock Art Project by Newcastle University and Queen’s University Belfast by Peter Lewis, Newcastle University

The project aims to coproduce a tool kit and management guide that will enable experts and non-experts alike to monitor the condition of open-air rock art or rock carvings, and implement simple management techniques to aid with their long term preservation. The guide is being developed in light of our on-going scientific analysis of the causes of rock art decay. Our initial results suggest that the rate of decay of rock art has increased rapidly over the last several decades.

This work may also be applicable to other open-air natural stone monuments in your area, so all contributions are welcome, even if as yet there is no known rock art in your region.

Both the toolkit and management guide are being coproduced with heritage professionals (like yourselves), end users (land owners, farmers etc.), rock art enthusiasts and non-experts (volunteers) in order to ensure they are practical, usable and straightforward.

With a successful adoption the data will be collected from rock art sites across the UK by a wide variety of people including landowners and the public.

As with most heritage conservation strategies, it is vital to have the buy in from Local Government Archaeology Officers.  We would like to open a discussion on how the to organise/implement the transfer and keeping of condition data collected through using the toolkit. To this end, we have created a discussion forum. This is hosted on a secure LGA website and some of you may already be registered on the site. It is quick and simple to register and find the group (by searching “rock art”). It can also be found at the following URL:

We are going to focus our efforts particularly on this collaboration over the next six months with regular updates and information. Please join the discussion!

Initially we would like to start a discussion on the following points:

1. Do you currently provide any guidance to managers/owners of open-air rock art? Or have suggestions on guidance, such as a “dos and don’ts” list?
2. Is there any feedback you would give on the toolkit and management guide outline?
3. Would your organisation, or the HER if you are a Local Government Archaeology Officer, be the best people to store the toolkit data? If no, who would you suggest as an alternate keeper of this information?
4. How do you think you would use and distribute the final resources when they are released in January 2014?

Please respond to these at the above URL.

Both your initial feedback and subsequent contributions on the discussion board
are greatly appreciated and necessary for the success of this project.

Please email heritagescience@ncl.ac.uk or visit
http://research.ncl.ac.uk/heritagescience if you are interested in further

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