Ancient rock art at risk from climate change
|Carvings at Weetwood Moor, near Wooler are thought to be about 4,000 years old [Credit: Newcastle University]|
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.”
|The team also examined rock art at Lordenshaw, near Rothbury [Credit: Newcastle University]|
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.
|Some of the most striking examples are on sandstone rocks near Chatton [Credit: Newcastle University]|
Giesen also indicated: “We are also carrying out further research in other locations in the UK and the Republic of Ireland to understand how rock art created on other stones may be affected.”
Source: Newcastle University [March 14, 2013]
Labels Ancient, ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Climate Change, Europe, Heritage, Ireland, More Stuff, UK, Western Europe