Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ancient rock art at risk, warn experts

Date:
March 14, 2013
Source:
Newcastle University
Summary:
Urgent action is needed to prevent ancient art disappearing, experts have warned.

Chatton. Urgent action is needed to prevent ancient art disappearing, Newcastle University experts have warned.
Credit: Image courtesy of Newcastle University

Urgent action is needed to prevent ancient art disappearing, Newcastle University experts have warned.

Related Articles


Researchers from the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS) and School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) studied the physical underpinnings and condition of Neolithic and Bronze Age rock art panels in Northumberland. They conclude climate change could cause the art to vanish because new evidence suggests stones may deteriorate more rapidly in the future.

Writing in the Journal of Cultural and Heritage Studies, they say action is needed so the art can be preserved for future generations, but they also urge that a deeper understanding is needed of what causes rock art to deteriorate.

David Graham, Professor of Ecosystems Engineering (CEG) said: “We wanted to understand the scientific reasons why these stones may deteriorate. Our findings show that predicted changes to our broader environment – such as more wind and warmer, wetter weather - could have a devastating effect on these artworks. If we want to keep them, we need to start looking at how we can preserve them now.”

Dr Aron Mazel , Director of ICCHS at Newcastle University, said: “People think rocks are permanent and that because rock art seems to have been there for a very long time , it will last forever. Sadly, this is not the case and some of the world’s most interesting art could be at risk. We need to act now if we want this art, which was created by humans thousands and thousands of years ago, to be there in the future.”

Rock art is one of the earliest forms of artistic expression and emerged in different parts of the world over 50,000 years ago. In Northumberland in Northern England, the rock art, which is between 6,000 and 4,000 years old, is mostly found on sandstone and the decoration is usually defined by cup-like features or complex patterns of cups, rings and grooves.

The team, working with Dr Patricia Warke at Queen’s University, Belfast, studied 18 panels at locations across Northumberland. They first assessed the actual condition of the rock art panels and then compared it with 27 geochemical and physical factors such as soil moisture, salinity, pH levels and height.

They found two factors were closely related to greater stone deterioration, the height of a panel and the level of exchangeable cations (ions) in the local soils.

The team is now developing a toolkit for landowners and managers to provide guidance on identifying and protecting rock art which is most at risk.

Lead author Dr Myra Giesen from the ICCHS said: “Urgent attention is needed to identify those most at risk so the rock art can be saved and preventative steps can be taken, such as improving drainage around the panels. We are developing a toolkit so landowners can do this themselves. This is really important as they are the first line of defence.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Newcastle University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Myra J. Giesen, Anais Ung, Patricia A. Warke, Beate Christgen, Aron D. Mazel, David W. Graham. Condition assessment and preservation of open-air rock art panels during environmental change. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.culher.2013.01.013

Cite This Page:

Newcastle University. "Ancient rock art at risk, warn experts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314124325.htm>.
Newcastle University. (2013, March 14). Ancient rock art at risk, warn experts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314124325.htm
Newcastle University. "Ancient rock art at risk, warn experts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314124325.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) Hundreds of archeological jewels in and around the town of 30,000 people prompt geologists and archeologists to call the Erfoud area "the largest open air fossil museum in the world". Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins