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Issue No.

19: Spring 2018

Issue No. 19: April 2018

Dear All,
The winter months always tend to be quiet for British rock art, and this is reflected in the current (brief) issue which includes no
new discoveries and little news from Britain. This will therefore be the the last April issue of Rock Articles; beginning with the
October issue (no. 20) we will switch to an annual publication and will focus more on British activities although always with an
eye on any wider developments that may be of interest. Enjoy the summer conferences and fieldwork - I hope to see some of
you in Ilkley or Valcamonica!
April 2018

• New British discoveries: snowy pics but nothing new ............................................................................... 1
• BRAG in Ilkley (Advert) ............................................................................................................................. 2
• World rock art on the web: international news and links ........................................................................... 3
• Made of stone but built on sand – what now for rock art research? Andy Curtis ................................. 4
• Wot - no cups? Kate Sharpe ...................................................................................................................... 5
• A new view of carved landscapes: GIS and the study of rock art Jack Brannon ................................... 6
• Rock art reads: new publications .............................................................................................................. 7
• After the flood. Documenting the engravings of the Tagus Valley Sara Garcês ................................... 8
• Fieldwork in Valcamonica (Advert) ........................................................................................................ 11
• Inspired by rock art: cup and ring stitch! ................................................................................................ 12
• Rock art abstracts: headlines from the journals ...................................................................................... 13
• Dates for your diary ............................................................................................................................... 14

None this issue! Let’s blame the unseasonable weather…so here are a few (previously known) snowy cups and rings to enjoy:

West Lordenshaw 2c (Main Rock, ERA-1318), Northumberland, 2011.
(RAMP website)
Low Plain 01 (ERA-2480),
West Yorkshire by Mike Short, 2007.

Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

Idol Stone 01 (ERA-2579), West Yorkshire, Richard Stroud (ERA website)

Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

News from Saudi Arabia, Spain, Australia

Domesticated dogs in early Saudi rock art
Rock art documents the earliest evidence for dogs on the Arabian Peninsula.
Depicted dogs are reminiscent of the modern Canaan dog, and scenes illustrate
dog-assisted hunting strategies dating to before the Neolithic. The art also provides
the earliest evidence of leashes, and shows dogs performed different hunting tasks.
Large groups of dogs suggest a sustained and perhaps managed breeding
To read more go to:
Full article: Guagnin et al. 2017. Pre-Neolithic evidence for dog-assisted hunting
strategies in Arabia, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 49, 225-236. Image: Guagnin et al.

World's oldest-known rock art created by Neanderthals
Uranium-thorium dating of carbonate crusts show that cave paintings from three
different sites in Spain must be older than 64,000 years. This pre-dates the arrival
of modern humans in Europe by at least 20,000 years, which suggests a
Neanderthal origin. The cave art comprises mainly red and black paintings and
includes linear signs, geometric shapes, and hand stencils. The authors argue that
Neanderthals had a much richer symbolic behaviour than previously assumed.

See video at:
Full paper: Hoffmann, DL et al. 2018. U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals
Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art, Science 23, 359(6378), 912—5 Image: CD Standish, AW Pike and DL Hoffman
DOI: 10.1126/science.aap7778

Indigenous owners 'left out' of rock art site's world heritage listing talks
The Burrup peninsula in north-west Western Australia is a nationally listed heritage
site containing more than 1m petroglyphs, or rock carvings, across 36,857ha of the
peninsula and surrounding Dampier archipelago. The Murujuga Aboriginal Council
(MAC) has joint management of the Murujuga national park, which covers areas of
the peninsula. The final report of the Senate committee, ordered to examine
potential damage to the site by a nearby industrial estate, was released on
Wednesday 21 March. Spokespeople from MAC told the committee that both the
organisation and its council of elders had not been substantially consulted on the
idea of pursuing a world heritage listing of the site for close to a decade.
Read more at: Image: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

Shelters with echoes preferred sites for prehistoric rock art
The acoustic qualities of a rock shelter may have been a key factor in its selection
for rock art and indicate a spiritual significance to the practice, according to a
recent study. Professor Margarita Díaz-Andreu and Dr Tommaso Mattioli, both from
the University of Barcelona, have shown that rock art sites studied in France, Spain
and Italy have distinct acoustic features: many echoes or strong reverberations. At
some sites, it was possible to hear sounds from great distances. Undecorated
shelters in the area lacked these special effects. 'As archaeologists we are obsessed
with material culture,' said Prof. Diaz-Andreu, 'But in fact, sound and music are
very important to the way in which we feel and the way we react. Sound has
special properties that facilitate us to reach a type of mental state that is prone to
enhance religious feelings.'
Hunting scene. Image: David Sabel
Read more at:

Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

Made of stone but built on sand – what now for rock art research?
Andy Curtis*

This was the title of a talk by Don O’Meara, Historic England’s
Science Advisor for the North-East and Hadrian’s Wall, given
to North of the Wall Tynedale Archaeology Group in January.
Rock art research could, of course, cover a multitude of things
including those archaeological questions of why they were
done, who did them and when? What more could we find out
about the motivation of those who did the carvings by
targeted excavation or larger landscape studies in the vicinity
of some of our iconic cup and ring marked panels?
Heritage at risk is a main element of Historic England’s raison
d’être and a considerable headache for our rock art heritage.
There are several reasons: it’s out there in the field doing
daily battle with the weather, beasts of the field, vegetation
and people; there is quite a lot of it, the land the panels are
on is often remote and nearly all privately owned; we don’t
care enough and doing anything would be too
expensive. Rock art in the landscape is difficult to conserve
and can be perceived as being immutable and permanent.
A building at risk can be renovated, stone-work rebuilt and
pointed; a Roman altar or centurial inscription can be removed
to a museum. Don said that in a recent study only 50% of
Roman inscriptions identified along Hadrian’s Wall in the last
300 years can still be found.
To me, a collection of Roman altars still looks good in a
museum, as they do at Chesters, but a museum collection of
rock art just doesn’t work. They look dull, out of place Barningham Moor 6, County Durham (ERA-805)
and wholly irrelevant. I want to see them where they were
made, out in our land of far horizons with the raindrops falling
and the skylarks singing. However much the landscape may
“…it is often the places as much as the
have changed since the days they were carved, it is often the
places as much as the carvings that seem to pass their
carvings that seem to pass their messages
messages down the ages. down the ages. …”
So is our rock art at risk? Undoubtedly. The reasons are many – agriculture, industry, quarrying and development, to name a
few. Perhaps in our upland landscape, neglect is often the case, although usually accidental or benign. Natural
erosion will erode carving from friable rock over time. Lichens and mosses may damage rock surfaces but as early natural
colonists, if undisturbed they will lead eventually to soil and turf cover. Do we accept this as inevitable or aim to cover some
panels over? What then for public access and enjoyment of our heritage? Bury and forget seems to go hand in hand with
benign neglect (like last year’s ‘lost’ panel of Beanley Moor).
As a means of identifying and managing risks, the work of
Aron Mazel and the CARE of rock art project are clearly of
importance. Only when people go out and monitor can we
know what is happening. In the Kilmartin area, several
important panels are on public display with access managed
and controlled as is the case in other countries around the
world. The only site that comes close in Northumberland is
Roughting Linn but we do little to encourage and inform
visitors even there. Budgets are limited and how can this be
funded anyway?
Over the last 50 years much has been done to record what we
have. Our rock art has been described, illustrated, laser
scanned, and 3D modelled by photogrammetry. Databases
have been created but can be as easily abandoned. New
scientific methods are being tried including, recently, portable-
x-ray fluorescence. Landowners and tenant farmers come and
Roughting Linn in 2003 (ERA-12). The fence, notice, and go, as does their tolerance to strangers on their land looking
several trees have since been removed at prehistoric rock carvings. Perhaps a rock art theme park
would do the trick (although never for me).
“…we do little to encourage and So what now for rock art research?
inform visitors…”
*This report was written by Andy Curtis, rock art enthusiast and natural sceptic. Viewpoints expressed are mine alone and I
apologise for any unintentional distortion of the talk or later discussion.
Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

Wot - no cups?
Kate Sharpe
We are used to seeing the familiar cup-and-ring motif with all its variations, and the ubiquitous cup mark appears in scatters,
in patterns, and in splendid isolation. But rings without cups are more unusual and tend to be associated with the megalithic art
of the Boyne Valley. A rapid survey of various gazetteers shows that there is, however, a small but significant corpus of rock art
which has no cups present – only concentric rings. Motifs range from a single ring to at least ten concentric rings at Copt Howe
in Cumbria. They are found in central and lowland Scotland, in northern Northumberland, and across Cumbria. Further
examples are also recorded in southern England in Dorset but ring-marks appear to be less common in the rock art regions of
north of Scotland and West and North Yorkshire. A significant number of the ring-marked panels are associated with
monuments, especially cists, or are ‘portable’ slabs and have been moved or re-used; many have truncated motifs. Here is a
selection compiled from sources including the BRAC website, the ERA website, and Canmore:

Lilburn Burial b, Maryport, Cumbria Lamancha, Scottish Borders Winterborne Came, Dorset

Houxty Cottage, Knowlton Southern Henge, Wester Yardhouses, South Burr Torr, Derbyshire
Northumberland Dorset Lanarckshire

Morwick, Northumberland Carr Hill, Northumberland Castleton 10, Stirling Tilicoulty, Clackmannanshire

Craigie Hill, Lothian Glassonby, Cumbria Little Meg, Cumbria

Copt Howe, Cumbria Beoch, Ayrshire

Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

A new view of carved landscapes: GIS and the study of rock art
John Brannon, Durham University
Wider use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in the study of rock art has great potential to improve our understanding
of these sites. Almost everyone has used a GIS in everyday life, for example with Google Maps or a car Sat Nav. In archaeology
and the study of rock art, software, usually ArcGIS, is used to produce models and maps using a programmed set of
parameters. Free GIS software is also available (eg QGIS ).
The location of most rock art in the open landscape has led to much of the interpretation surrounding these sites focussing on
spatial evidence. GIS allows researchers to assess directionality, relationships with monuments or landscape features, and can
be used to calculate the viewshed of rock art sites and can simultaneously analyse as many sites as the computing power will
allow. Using only field observations, the task would require far greater time and effort. From the results produced in GIS we can
determine which are statistically significant, and so form a stronger interpretation of rock art within a landscape.
My undergraduate research focused on rock art sites in both Barningham Moor and the Upper Tyne area of Northumberland,
using cumulative viewshed analyses to understand key features within the landscape. My MA research at Durham University will
develop this work, using GIS techniques to analyse how societies and individuals interacted with these sites.
When using GIS to conduct viewshed analysis, the
background elevation model is divided into cells, the
size of which are determined by the resolution of the
model (a 5 m resolution would create cells of 5 m 2).
The simplest form of viewshed analysis is created with
a single viewpoint (eg a rock art site). From here, the
software calculates the visibility of every cell within the
defined area (usually the size of the background map)
giving a binary result of either 0 – not visible, or 1 –
visible. While this approach allows us to easily
highlight key locations of visibility (see Figure 1 for
example), it is limited in its use for archaeological
interpretation; a simple site visit and high-quality
panoramic photographs of the views would probably
produce similar results.
Cumulative viewshed analysis involves the sum of two
or more binary viewshed analyses. The result for each
cell is an integer ranging from 0 (no viewpoints visible)
to a theoretical maximum of the total number of
viewpoints in the analysis (all viewpoints are visible).
The results can be manipulated and displayed in many
ways, most often as stretched values (see Figure 2).
Figure 1: Single viewshed analysis

Such an analysis is valuable for rock art, which
often occurs in clusters, but cumulative viewshed
analysis also allows us to easily identify areas of the
landscape that are of high visibility and may
therefore have been of some significance in the
past. This technique has been used at Kilmartin
Glen, Scotland, where analysis showed that the key
areas of visibility faced both the sea and inland
towards the entrance to the Glen. Many areas
where rock art sites are clustered do not, however,
have a key landscape feature so that interpreting
the data can be difficult, and a combination of
methods is more useful.
Although GIS is a valuable tool, there are a several
problems to recognise when using it for viewshed
analysis. Models are created on the assumption of a
blank landscape. The presence of palaeovegetation
is a factor that cannot be allowed for, despite
efforts by researchers to produce models. Other
factors affecting visibility include weather (with
seasonal variations), and the limit of human
eyesight. Studies on large areas require vast
computing power, but if the study area is too small
Figure 2: Least cost path analysis there will be a degree of edge effect, whereby
useful information might be just out of range.
Ideally in the study of rock art, GIS analyses should be used to complement other methodologies. In 2007, Sara Fairén-Jiménez
conducted a study in Northumberland using a combination of viewshed analysis and cost surface analysis, a method of mapping
movement through the landscape. Her research suggested that rock art was placed overlooking routeways, an interpretation
that would not be possible without a combined approach.
Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

My MA research will use both viewshed analysis and
cost surface analysis but in a more advanced form,
expanding on an approach used by Mark Gillings. His
visibility model mapping seclusion produces a total
viewshed of the landscape by creating viewpoints from
every cell to every other cell (see Figure 3). By
analysing each cell both in terms of visibility and of
cost to one another, I hope to create a total cost
surface for the landscape, highlighting routes that
prehistoric people may have traversed. It should then
be possible to assess whether rock art was intended to
be in secluded, hard-to-reach places, or was easy to
access in highly visible locations. Either of these
possibilities will give us insight into why these sites
might have been created. The analysis will also allow
us to comment on the ways in which both the society
and individual interacted with these places, and the
role that rock art might have played within prehistoric

Further reading: Figure 3: Visibility model mapping seclusion (after Gillings)

Conolly, J. and Lake, M. 2006. Geographical information systems in archaeology. Cambridge: CUP.
Fairen-Jimenez, S. 2007. British Neolithic rock art in its landscape, Journal of Field Archaeology, 32(3): 283–95.
Freedman, D., Jones, A. and Riggott, P. 2011. Rock art and the Kilmartin landscape, in A.M. Jones, D. Freedman, B. O'Connor, H.
Lamdin-Whymark, R.Tipping & A. Watson (ed.) An animate landscape: rock art and the prehistory of Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland: 222–
50. Oxford: Windgather Press.
Gillings, M. 2015. Mapping invisibility: GIS approaches to the analysis of hiding and seclusion, Journal of Archaeological Science 62: 1-14.
Wheatley, D. 1995. Cumulative viewshed analysis: a GIS-based method for investigating intervisibility, and its archaeological
application, in G.R. Lock and G. Stancic (ed.) Archaeology and GIS: a European perspective: 171–86. London: Taylor & Francis.
Wheatley, D. and Gillings, M. 2013. Spatial technology and archaeology: the archaeological applications of GIS. London: Taylor & Francis.
Winterbottom, S. J. and Long, D. 2006. From abstract digital models to rich virtual environments: landscape contexts in Kilmartin Glen,
Scotland, Journal of Archaeological Science 33(10):1356–67.

If you would like to submit an article to Rock Articles, please contact me at

Feature articles. Contributions are invited for articles on all aspects of Rock Art in Britain and Ireland, including recording
techniques, interpretation, management, presentation, education, and conservation. We are keen to hear about any community
projects, heritage initiatives, new techniques, new research, and to provide a forum for anyone with an interest in rock art.
Perhaps you have been to a conference and could write a report, or have participated in a workshop or training event? Articles
should be 750-1000 words and should include at least two images (for which you should have permission).

New Discoveries. If you have identified any new rock art and would like to feature your find in the New Discoveries section of
Rock Articles, get in touch, with a photograph of your find. Please note that grid references will not be included in Rock Articles.
Finds should be reported to and verified by the relevant local authority HER officer.

British Rock Art News. Do you have some news about your project, or an update on a particular panel that you can fit into
less than 200 words? Why not share it RA readers?

Inspired by Rock Art? Rock art often inspires creative responses. Have cup and ring marks fired your imagination? If so we’d
love to see your work!

Events and opportunities. Are you running an event that might be of interest to RA readers? Let us know about any talks,
conferences, or guided walks. Maybe you are looking for participants for a community project? Advertise here and use the RA
network to spread the word.

Submission deadline for Rock Articles No. 20: 14th Sept 2018

Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

After the flood: documenting the submerged engravings of the Tagus Valley
Sara Garcês
The Tagus Valley Rock Art Complex is located in central Portugal), along 40 km of both sides of the Tagus River and three
tributaries: the Ocreza, Ponsul and Erges. Twelve rock art sites are scattered throughout the four municipalities of Mação, Vila
Velha de Ródão, Nisa and Castelo Branco. Engravings recently discovered on the Erges River are stylistically similar to those on
the Tagus so are also included in the Tagus Rock Art Complex which now comprises a total of 6988 engravings across 1636
rocks (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Location of the Tagus Rock Art Complex

Discovery and documentation
The Tagus Valley engravings were first located on the banks of the Tagus near Fratel parish in Vila de Velha de Ródão
municipality, in October 1971 by students from the ‘Group for the Study of the Portuguese Palaeolithic’. At that time, the Fratel
Dam was under construction, and the resultant reservoir threatened to submerge all the engravings. The team decided to
document all the engravings as quickly as possible using latex moulding, a method considered, at that time, to be fast and
effective. It was used for about two years, allowing the documentation of 1464 panels before they were finally submerged.
Between the early 80s and 2010, several monographic works on specific panels, and a doctoral thesis were produced, and
many other articles about Portuguese rock art highlighted the importance of the Tagus rock art and the great need to compile a
catalogue of all the engravings. My own doctoral research, completed in 2017, addressed this by creating a complete, current
catalogue of Tagus valley rock art, with the documentation of 12 rock art sites, including 1636 panels with a total of around
7000 figures. This involved analysis of the entire bibliographic material available on the Tagus Rock Art Complex, fieldwork on
three rock art sites that still have some immersed figures, and the 2D tracing of all 1464 latex moulds (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Photographical documentation and 2D tracing of Ficalho FIC11M1420 (middle).
Photography: © Flávio Nuno Joaquim, 2014; Tracings: © Sara Garcês, 2017.

Current methodology
The processing of the latex moulds required several phases, each carried
out with as much care as possible due to the previous storage conditions of
some of the moulds (which resulted in scratches, wear, talcum powder,
fungi, etc.). The 2D drawings were generated from the latex moulds for ten
sites and also for a set of moulds with no recorded location. Laboratory
protocols for the paper documentation of every aspect of each mould
1) Production of plastic sheets for direct tracing. Each sheet measured 84 x
59 cm with 2 cm margins (approximate size of an A1 sheet);
2) Positioning each plastic sheet on the mould following a strict sequence: if
more than one sheet was needed, these were always placed from left to Figure 3: Direct tracing using artificial light
right, top to bottom and each sheet overlapped about 2 cm of the previous
one so that some part of the tracing is repeated in both. This facilitated the combination of different sheets in the image
processing step;
3) Direct tracing of the engravings using coloured permanent markers. The whole process of tracing was done in a dark room,
using oblique artificial light focussed such that the engravings appeared. The flickering light, when placed on the mould, created
a shadow in the relief of the engravings, allowing complete visualisation.
Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

All the plastic sheets were digitised and processed using Adobe Photoshop © software. The digital processing involved the
organisation and compilation of the sheets for each mould, the creation of each individual image, the counting of figures, and
the representation of the overlays with different colours.
Direct tracing was also carried out at three sites with out-of-water engravings (Ocreza, Gardete and São Simão). The
methodology followed the same protocol and these drawings were compared to the moulds of the same panels to compile the
largest amount of information on each rock. Professional photographic documentation was undertaken for all the moulds.
After compilation of data for all the rock art of the Tagus Valley, it was necessary to develop a typology (Figure 4) that
represented the very complex characteristics of this group. The 6988 figures identified on the 1636 panels were organised into
the following major categories. The number of figures is given with the percentage of the total in parentheses:
• Anthropomorphic figures: 235 (3.36%)
• Zoomorphic figures: 325 (4.65%)
• Open Linear Structures: 1229 (17.59%) - lines, bundles, wavy lines, zig-zags, figures in the shape of angles; horseshoe, ox horns
shape, semicircle, meander, stems shape figures, U shape figures, double U shape figures, U-shaped with dash in the middle
• Closed Linear Structures: 3852 (55.12%) - many types of circles, concentric circles with nos. of rings, halter-shaped figures,
several types of geometric figures, e.g. squares, rectangles, triangles, double triangles, etc.
• ‘Others’: 1679 (2.42%)- weapons, asterisk shape, crosier shape figures, shields, idol shape figures, footprints, sun-shape figures,
eye-shape figures, cup marks, sets of cup marks, net-shape figures and cup-shape figures
• Pecking ‘clouds’: 1105 (15.81%)
• Inscriptions (from several chronologies): 26 (0.37%)
• Indeterminate figures: 45 (0.64%)
• Religious figures: 2 (0.02%)

Figure 4: Typology of Tagus Valley Rock Art
A new chronological hypothesis (Figure 5) was proposed taking into account the contemporaneity of the Tagus engravings with
both painted and megalithic sites (mainly in peninsular locations) and considering materials and archaeological contexts. The
framework comprises three important chronological phases: the Palaeolithic phase (with only one figure), a Pre-schematic
phase (from the Mesolithic period), and a Schematic phase (with the largest number of figures - 96.24%, covering the Neolithic,
Chalcolithic and Bronze Age). Although the definition of a Pre-Schematic phase of Mesolithic chronology is not new, the
definition of this period as the beginning of true settlement of rock art sites by the last hunter-gatherers communities of central
Portugal is novel. In the western Iberian Peninsula, the Mesolithic artistic cycle has only recently been recognised and is known
as ‘western pre-schematic art’ or the ‘Pre-Schematic Horizon’ of ‘pre-Neolithic’ chronology. In the Tagus Valley, the dominant
theme present in Mesolithic rock art seems to be deer, with representations typical of hunter-gatherer mind-set. The
overwhelming majority of the Tagus figures, however, belong to the artistic phase called Iberian Schematic Rock Art. These
figures find parallels both in megalithic peninsular rock art and in open-air painted shelters throughout the Iberian Peninsula.

Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

Figure 5: Chronology proposal for Tagus Rock Art Complex

The Tagus Valley documentation was developed within the ‘Ruptejo’ research project and was carried out with the institutional and financial support of the
Museum of Prehistoric Rock Art and the Sacred Tagus Valley of Mação; Algarve Archaeological Association; Geosciences Center of Coimbra University;
Earth and Memory Institute (ITM - Mação); Polytechnic Institute of Tomar (IPT – Portugal) and Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT - Portugal).

Sara Garcês
Geosciences Center, Coimbra University (u. ID73-FCT) Portugal
ITM (Earth and Memory Institute), Portugal
Polytechnic Institute of Tomar (IPT – Portugal)

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Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

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Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

ROCK ART READS: new and forthcoming publications

Archival theory, chronology Early rock art of the American
and interpretation of rock art West: the geometric enigma,
in the Western Cape, South Ekkehart Malotki and Ellen
Africa, Siyakha Mguni Dissanayake
Archaeopress, £40 (paperback) University of Washington Press,
ISBN: 9781784914462 £22.50 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780295743615
Mguni advocates the archival
capacity of rock art and uses This publication is devoted to the
archival perspectives to analyse deep antiquity and amazing
the chronology of paintings. The range of geometrics and the
Western Cape sequence includes fascinating questions that arise
the hunter-gatherer phase from from their ubiquity and variety. Why did they precede
ca. 10,000 BP, pastoralism from representational marks? What is known about their origins
ca. 2,000 BP and finally the and functions? Why and how did humans begin to make
historical-cum-colonial period several centuries ago. marks, and what does this practice tell us about the early
human mind?
and-interpretation-of-rock-art-in-the-western-cape-south-africa.html 

Talking stone: rock art of the Recorded places, experience-
Cosos, Paul Goldsmith ed places: the Holocene rock
University of Utah Press, £20.95 art of the Iberian Atlantic
(paperback) north-west, Ana M.S.
ISBN: 9781607815570 Bettencourt (Ed) et al.
Cinematographer Paul Goldsmith British Archaeological Reports,
takes the reader on a visual £46 (paperback)
journey through the canyons of a ISBN: 9781407314846
highly restricted military base on Including 'Concepts and tools to
the edge of the Mojave Desert to study rock art', ‘From sub-
see the largest concentration of rock art in North America, naturalistic to Schematic rock art
possibly in the world. Images of animals, shamans, and tradition’, ‘Atlantic tradition rock
puzzling abstract forms were pecked and painted on stone art’ and ‘Other styles’, focusing
over thousands of years by a now long-gone culture. on depictions considered distinct from the best-known
 regional styles.
the-cosos.html 


Fransje Samsom Tinkelenberg, a member
of Tynedale North of the Wall
Archaeology Group spotted this gem at St
Abbs Wool Festival. It was made by artist
Helen Cowan whose other work
(including rock art-inspired pieces) you
can enjoy at

On her website Helen explains: “I’m
presently exploring the landscape and
history of Northumberland. A land of
battles, castles and hidden rock art.”

Keen rock art devotees will recognise the
green motif with the ‘hair’ as being from
Roughting Linn (ERA-12) and the red
motif is part of the famous ‘bicycle’ from
Weetwood Moor 3a (ERA-142), both in

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Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

Rock Art Abstracts: Headlines from recent journal papers. What are researchers currently thinking
about? (Full papers may not be available without subscription)

Human figures blur boundaries The microbiology of rock art in Assessing risk to rock art in
between participants and cosmos Western Australia limestone landscapes in Spain
Images related to religious ideology This article focuses on the major This paper sets out a methodology for
and practice in Rio Grande Tradition influences on the microbiome of rock calculating the potential zone of
and Navajo rock art focus on the art in the Burrup Peninsula and the damage in a karst environment,
interconnectedness of all things. They implications of any environmental defining areas for conservation of
define humanity's intimate link to the change on the rock art itself. Recent cultural heritage. The methodology,
cosmos, and evoke the supernatural expansion of industry may potentially which uses lithological cartography,
strengths of other living beings, along upset the delicate balance of geomorphology and the study of
with animated entities such as rain- environmental conditions that led to fracturing, was applied in the Alkerdi
clouds and the sun. rock varnish formation. caves, Navarre, northern Spain.
Schaafsma, P. 2018. Human images Gleeson, D.B., Matthias, L., Smith Irantzu Álvarez et al. 2018.
and blurring boundaries. The Pueblo B., & Black, J.L. 2018. Rock-art Geological risk assessment for rock
Body in cosmological context: rock art, microbiome: influences on long term art protection in karstic caves (Alkerdi
murals and ceremonial figures, preservation of historic and culturally Caves, Navarre, Spain) Journal of
Cambridge Archaeological Journal 1- important engravings. Microbiology Cultural Heritage.
21. doi:10.1017/S0959774317000968 Australia

Stylistic analysis of Arabian Chilean rock art illuminates New discoveries from Southern
camels marine hunting traditions India
The recently discovered ‘Camel Site’ in Pictographs from the Atacama Desert This paper reviews both petroglyphs
northern Arabia depicts, for the first coast in Chile provide a spectacular and pictograms in the Malaprabha
time, life-sized camelids and equids and expressive representation of river basin, North Karnataka. The art
carved in low- and high-relief. Analysis ancient marine hunting and maritime includes cupules, geometrical lines,
suggests a distinct Arabian tradition, traditions. When combined with rhombus, human figures, historical
which perhaps drew upon Nabataean archaeological evidence, this analysis paintings and many other motifs.
and Parthian influences, perhaps provides important new information They are found on isolated
serving as a boundary marker or a concerning the value and significance sandstone, granite and quartzite
place of veneration. of this rock art to those ancient boulders, as well as on the walls and
Charloux, G., et al. 2018. The art of hunter-gatherers. ceilings of rock shelters.
rock relief in ancient Arabia: new Ballester, B. 2018. El Médano rock Mohana, R. 2018. Rock art in the
evidence from the Jawf Province. art style: Izcuña paintings and the Aihole-Badami-kutakanakeri Series of
Antiquity 92(361), 165-182. marine hunter-gatherers of the the Malaprabha River Basin: some
doi:10.15184/aqy.2017.221 Atacama Desert. Antiquity 92(361), distinctive features. Ancient Asia 9, 1.
132-148. DOI:

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Issue No. 19: Spring 2018

DATES for your DIARY: forthcoming conferences and other events
If you have an event you would like to publicise here please send me the details.

9th – 10th Jun 2018 British Rock Art Group Annual Conference, Ilkley
See page 2.
Contact: George Nash ( or Aron Mazel (

29th Aug – 2nd Sep 2018 IFRAO Conference, Valcamonica
Sessions include:
• Made for being visible. Developing 3D methodologies for the study of rock art
• Managing sustainable rock art sites
• Modern (re)uses of rock art: art, identity and visual culture
• Public policies and rock art, between research and preservation
• Challenges and changes for rock art research in the digital age
• Rock art in landscape of motion


5th – 8th Sep 2018 European Association of Archaeologists, Barcelona
Sessions include:
• Rock & Ritual: caves, shelters and stones in the Ancient Mediterranean
• The future of rock art – Documentation, research, and outreach
• The Intersections of Memory and Rock Art: Towards a Multidisciplinary Approach
• Rock Art And The Sea: The Symbols Of Prehistoric Coastal Societies And Maritime
Interaction In Europe
• Conservation issues and preventive measures in open-air rock art sites


16th Jul – 4th Aug 2017 Recording Rock Art Fieldwork in Valcamonica. Camuno
Centre for Prehistoric Studies
See details on page 11.
Deadline: vitae and participation form must be sent by June 2018 to:
Cost: 100 € plus the fee to Camuno Centre for Prehistoric Studies (40 €).
Accommodation: guest house in Nadro at 10 € per night.

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