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2017-10-24 |

Projects : People, Animals, and Ochre: Rock art as a proxy for environmental change, Archaeology, Flinders University

Rock art in Arnhem Land preserves information about past fauna species unavailable archaeologically beyond the Late Holocene. This repertoire has been vastly under-exploited as a source of data about changing human-animal relationships past and present. The project will develop reliable methods for identifying fauna in rock art in Arnhem Land Northern Territory, an area with no Pleistocene palaeontological fauna record. The research will augment zoological methods with insights from Aboriginal people. Securely identifying and dating fauna species in rock art will enhance understanding past human-animal relationships and enable new insights into debates on megafauna extinctions, climate, and environmental change in Australia.

2017-05-25 |

Resources : Museum of Northern Arizona (MUSNAZ) - Rock Art Database

Welcome to the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA). Located in Flagstaff, Arizona, our 200 acre campus includes an exhibit building, research labs, and state of the art collections facilities for more than five million Native American artifacts, natural science specimens, and fine art pieces. Founded in 1928, our mission is to inspire a sense of love and responsibility for the beauty and diversity of the Colorado Plateau through collecting, studying, interpreting, and preserving the region’s natural and cultural heritage. MNA works in collaboration with native peoples of the Southwest to protect and foster the cultures, traditions, and beliefs of the Colorado Plateau by encouraging artistic expression and supporting, empowering, and educating visitors about the region's art and cultures. The Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

The Museum has a Rock Art Database with over 35000 publication entries.

2018-01-12 |

Projects : Rock Art of Alab, Bontoc

Using GIS tools on low-cost 3D models to enhance engraved figures and to create the first inventory of the rock art in Bontoc, Philippines

*Please refer to if you have any problems viewing the 3D models and for access to the raw data.
Converted to .x3D in Meshlab.

Low-quality Alab Site 1
Agisoft PhotoScan Processing Parameters
Cameras 1219
Aligned cameras 1001
Markers 6
Scale bars 3
Coordinate system Local Coordinates (m)
Point Cloud
Points 16,088,953 of 20,140,507
RMS reprojection error 876894 (4.21989e+06 pix)
Max reprojection error 1.33174e+09 (2.44828e+09 pix)
Mean key point size 3.64799 pix
Effective overlap 2.90044
Alignment parameters
Accuracy High
Generic preselection Yes
Reference preselection No
Key point limit 0
Tie point limit 0
Constrain features by mask No
Adaptive camera model fiting Yes
Matching time 4 hours 49 minutes
Alignment time 15 hours 51 minutes
Dense Point Cloud
Points 420,176,100
Reconstruction parameters
Quality High
Depth filtering Aggressive
Depth maps generation time 4 hours 12 minutes
Dense cloud generation time 10 hours 0 minutes
Faces 997,260
Vertices 498,853
T exture 4,096 x 4,096, uint8
Reconstruction parameters
Surface type Height field
Source data Dense
Interpolation Enabled
Quality High
Depth filtering Aggressive
Face count 1,000,000
Processing time 1 hours 36 minutes
Texturing parameters
Mapping mode Generic
Blending mode Mosaic
T exture size 4,096 x 4,096
Enable color correction No
Enable hole filling Y es
UV mapping time 1 minutes 10 seconds
Blending time 10 minutes 28 seconds
Version 1.3.1 build 4030
Platform Windows 64

2018-01-12 |

Projects : WR100

3D models using AgiSoft

2017-04-04 |

Resources : Frobenius Institute - Rock Art Archive

The Frobenius Institute was one of the earliest research institutions for rock art in the world. With its 8,300 copies of rock art from Africa, Oceania, Australia and Europe, the Institute holds one of the largest and most extensive documentary collections of this form of art. The significance of this archive lies particularly with the age of the copies - they were produced between 1912 and the 1960s - and the (regional) comprehensiveness of the materials. In many cases the copies produced by the members of the Institute are now the only remaining documentation of certain rock art sites, as the original sites have since been destroyed.
Contact: Dr. Richard Kuba

zeichner1Leo Frobenius considered "rock art" to be not only an early form of art, but literally a form of primeval or primordial cultural "document", which in his view said more about "culture" than any historical or archaeological record. His interest in rock art began to materialise during his early travels in Mali, during his "expedition" of 1907-9 to what was then known as "Western Sudan", where he also took some photographs. Later, while travelling in the Atlas Saharien and South Africa, among other places, he regularly employed painters and illustrators to copy rock art on site. His original and more restricted focus on African rock art was later extended and came to include original sized tracings, drawings, paintings and photographs of rock art from Norway, France, Italy, Spain, New Guinea and Australia: altogether 8,300 copies, the largest of which measure up to 2.70 x 10.50 metres.

fba 1622Before WW II parts of the rock art collection were exhibited both within and outside Germany. The exhibitions in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Zurich and New York appeared to have been quite celebrated events and to have inspired the work of certain contemporary artists. After a successful exhibition in the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1937, the rock art copies toured 31 locations in the rest of the United States. As in Europe these exhibitions provided visitors with an opportunity to experience a truly unusual form of art at first hand.In 2006, the German Research Foundation (DFG) allocated funding to the Institute for the digitisation and cataloging of the pictorial archive materials (including the Rock Art Archive), which are now accessible via an online database.

Zur Zeit lassen sich rund 110.000 Bilder recherchieren. Die zwischen 1830 und 1964 entstandenen Fotografien, Aquarelle, Tuschzeichnungen etc. zeigen prähistorische Felszeichnungen, Portraits, Landschaften, Architektur und materielle Kultur. Die meisten stammen von Forschungsexpeditionen, die Mitarbeiter des Instituts in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts nach Afrika, Australien, Indonesien und Südamerika unternahmen.

2017-04-03 |

Resources : Arte Rupestre En Valltorta - Gassulla - Ulldecona | 4D Vull

4D VULL project has been carried out in 2015 & 2016 in several municipalities included in the Valltorta-Gassulla Cultural Park and surrounding districts, and in sierra de la Pietat (Ulldecona). This rock art assemblage were included in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1998. This research project have been promoted by Tírig town council, with the collaboration of Amics Valltorta, and of the municipalities of Coves de Vinromà, Ares del Maestrat, Albocàsser, Benassal and Ulldecona.
The aims of this project were to diagnose the level of preservation, the monitoring of identified alterations and the proposal of measures for preventive conservation. The results are based on cutting-edge technologies and methodologies, like close-range photogrammetry, volumetric comparisons, gigapixel imagine, multispectral imaging, image processing by decorrelation stretch of color spaces, geological analyses, thermographic analyses, etc.
The other objective of the project is to disseminate Levantine (and Schematic) rock art of these districts. Many of the digital products made in this project are available in this web, on optimised sizes respect to the originals to make browsing easier.

2016-09-20 |

Resources : MAFIL (Mission Archéologique Franco-Indienne au Ladakh)

MAFIL (Mission Archéologique Franco-Indienne au Ladakh or Franco-Indian Archaeological Mission in Ladakh) is an international network of researchers concerned with the exploration, documentation and preservation of Ladakhi material culture.

MAFIL was initiated in 2007 in the form of informal contacts between L. Bruneau (associate professor, EPHE, Paris) and S.B. Ota (regional director, ASI, Bhopal). These were formalized in 2012 by a bi-lateral cooperation project approved and supported by French and Indian authorities.

2016-03-31 |

Resources : Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation - Cultural Database

Cultural Database

We have developed a database to store all cultural information gathered and recorded, including photographs, stories, audio and video recordings, research publications, news items and other relevant information.

The aim of the database Jawoyn Cultural Site Management System is to provide cultural information to the Jawoyn people in an easily accessible format.

The database also delivers access at different levels. The system requires the user to enter demographic information, and provides access to certain data based on their details. This ensures appropriate cultural information is made available to those who have the right position to view it. For example, secret men's sites can only be seen by Jawoyn men who are a certain age.

It's believed that upon completion, the database will possibly be the largest single cultural heritage database in the world, and an exceptionally valuable resource not only for Australia and Aboriginal people but for future generations around the world.


The database was initially designed as the Uluru Kata Tjuta Cultural Site Management System developed in conjunction with the Department of the Environment and Heritage, Water and the Arts. Through support from the Indigenous Heritage Program, the system was refined and expanded to suit the needs of Jawoyn people and Jawoyn Lands.

Development of the database has involved the community at all stages and appropriate modification of the interface is now being finalised to provide easy access to community school children.


The database is being made available for access at special information stations being set up in Katherine, Nitmiluk National Park and in remote communities. In particular, it has a special focus on providing information to Jawoyn youth and school children.

2016-02-01 |


Latin american rock art research e-publishing

2016-01-16 |

Projects : The Rock-Art APP

Rock-Art Application

2015-10-08 |

Resources : Rock Art on Mobile Phones (RAMP)

The Research Project

The Rock Art Mobile Project (RAMP) was undertaken by the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, at Newcastle University in 2010/11. It was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Newcastle University.

RAMP brings photographs, diagrams and commentaries about rock art directly to mobile phones in the Northumberland countryside. It builds on the resources developed as part of the Beckensall Northumberland Rock Art and the England’s Rock Art (ERA) databases.

RAMP focuses on three key rock art areas in Northumberland: Lordenshaw (near Rothbury), Weetwood and Dod Law (both near Wooler). These sites were chosen on the strength and diversity of their rock art, their accessibility and, crucially, their ability to withstand visitor numbers.
Development of the project

RAMP aims to enhance public engagement with rock art in Northumberland using mobile digital technology. We wish to add an extra dimension to the visitor experience and to bring rock art to new audiences through the use of mobile devices.

In our design process we involved rock art and/or countryside visitors from Northumberland and surrounding areas, who helped us to develop our design ideas, refine our prototypes and improve our understanding of the rock art visiting experience. We are grateful to those who have participated in our workshops.
Rock Art on Mobile Phones

The primary outcome of the RAMP is a Rock Art on Mobile Phones website with materials for each selected rock art area.

With the Rock Art on Mobile Phones mobile website we wanted to create a flexible, accessible mobile experience which has a good chance of standing the test of time. The mobile site has been tested on a range of devices, from desktop computers, high-end smart phones and lower specification feature phones.

2015-10-08 |

Projects : Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center

The story of Shumla began over 4,000 years ago when the ancient inhabitants of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands began to paint their sophisticated myths and beliefs on the limestone canyon walls. In 1998, artist-turned-archaeologist Dr. Carolyn Boyd, who recognized the incredible value of the ancient art, founded an organization to preserve, study and share this important cultural record. Since then, Shumla has been a center of archaeological research, heritage preservation, community outreach and education for students of all ages.

Preserving the Oldest ‘Books’ in North America Like a book, each mural in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands was authored and composed to communicate thoughts and ideas. These ancient paintings are visual narratives that will re-write the pre-history of North America. At Shumla, we work to preserve and share the ‘library’ of painted texts and the information they hold through documentation, research, stewardship and education.

Recording the Fragile Artwork We use the latest technological advances to document each painted narrative as a whole and each figure and line within it individually, creating an exhaustive searchable database that can be used by researchers for years to come, long after the paintings have disappeared.

Unraveling the Mural’s Mysteries We painstakingly study the data we collect to learn how the paintings were produced and to decipher the meaning of the images and the act of creating them. Our cutting-edge research will illuminate long-lost myths and beliefs, adding new chapters to North American pre-history.

Encouraging Interest and Awareness Many murals are located on private property. Landowners are best suited to protect the art on their land. We collaborate with them to access and document the murals in a respectful and un-intrusive way. We also increase overall awareness of the art to engage others in its protection.

Connecting to Our Shared Past We use the knowledge we gain to open this remote region and its cultural treasure trove to visitors, volunteers, students, teachers, and researchers from around the world. We publish and present our findings and make our data, results and methods available to all.

The Board of Directors and Staff of Shumla hope to facilitate a future where: The ancient paintings of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands continue to inspire awe, enjoyment, and scholarship far into the future. The library of information housed in the oldest ‘books’ in North America is available to all. Shumla is a global leader in rock art research and education, collaborating with partners, across disciplines and internationally.

2015-10-07 |

NEWS : Researchers record Chinese rock art

Little known Chinese rock art sites similar to Franco-Cantabrian rock paintings in Western Europe were recorded by Professor Paul Taçon and Dr Maxime Aubert (Place, Evolution and Rock Art Heritage Unit) in June 2015.

With Chinese colleagues, Professors Tang Huisheng (Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang) and Wang Jianxin (Northwest University, Xian), they researched 12 rock art sites in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

“The paintings we recorded were reminiscent of some of the oldest rock paintings of Western Europe, tens of thousands of years old, and there was a possibility they could be of similar age,’’ Professor Taçon said.

“However, we concluded they were made much more recently, less than 5000 years ago. This shows that similar types of rock paintings were made in different parts of the world at various times and that we cannot use style alone as a determinant of age, a conclusion supported by our research in southwest China a few years ago.

Giriraj Kumar, Professor Paul Tacon and Dr Max Aubert in China.
Professor Giriraj Kumar, Professor Paul Tacon and Dr Max Aubert in China.
While in China, Professor Taçon and Dr Aubert attended the launch of the International Centre of Rock Art Dating (ICRAD), the world’s first rock art dating research centre where they were made Visiting Professors.

They are the first foreign members of ICRAD, along with Australian rock art expert Robert Bednarik and Professor Giriraj Kumar of India. Since 2008, Professor Taçon has also been an Honorary Professor at the Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Kunming, Yunnan Province, one of the first to be appointed from outside China.

As well as Northwest University and Hebei Normal University, Professor Taçon and Dr Aubert strengthened relationships between Griffith University and various archaeological institutes across Xinjiang and the China Academy of Rock Art.

They have also recently returned from a trip to Sulawesi where they began discussions about new collaborations with Indonesian colleagues, including some from Hasanudin University.

Sulawesi has the world’s oldest rock paintings, dated to almost 40,000 years ago by Dr Aubert and his team and published in Nature last October.

Griffith and Hasannudin Universities have had an MOU since 2012.

“The June China and Indonesia trips are part of a long-term PERAHU and Griffith strategy to be increasingly research engaged with our northern neighbours during the Asian Century,’’ Professor Taçon said.

Article originally posted in

2015-10-07 |

Resources : Our Languages

The Our Languages website has been produced as a place where we can share and collaborate on activities surrounding Australia's traditional Aboriginal languages.

You may wish to use it as a gateway or portal site to Australia and the world. This website asks for your participation in all aspects of the site. If you would like to contribute information, please let us know, the site will only grow with your help.

We must say that the idea for this website came about through discussions from four people in particular, they are Robin Young from Microsoft Australia, Peter Menadue, Ben Johnston and Karin Smith from Dimension Data. We cannot thank them enough for their vision, drive, ideas and enthusiasm for establishing this website. Microsoft Australia brought Arwarbukarl CRA and Dimension Data together to build the first live prototype of the website which has been demonstrated around Australia to many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, every person who had seen this initial prototype has since given the support and encouragement needed to today bring you the website in its final makeup.

We hope that it can show you how all Australian's can come together to gain understanding and respect for us as the original people of this land and our wish to continue to speak our traditional languages and to share this with you.

2015-10-02 |

Resources :

Rock art

Rock art, in the form of petroglyphs, is the most spectacular and visible evidence of past human activity in the Dampier Archipelago. The density of motifs and the diversity of subject matter and techniques make this an extraordinarily significant corpus of art at a national and international scale.

There has been no comprehensive study of the Dampier rock art. It is clear, however, from descriptive accounts, that the sheer quantity and variety of the art makes generalising about the whole area problematic. The few detailed studies of smaller areas all show the complexity of the art and its intimate relationship with other cultural remains.

Petroglyphs are made by removing the outer surface of the rock by one of several different techniques, including pounding, abrading and scoring. The rocks of the Dampier Archipelago are particularly suited to making petroglyphs as removing the dark weathered surface to reveal the pale colour of the interior of the rock creates a sharp colour contrast. Over time, the colour contrast diminishes to nothing as the exposed surfaces weather in their turn. The range of different contrasts in the Dampier rock art indicates that petroglyphs were made over a long period of time. Clearly, making petroglyphs has a long history in the area. However, we do not know precisely how long because rock art is hard to date. It is probable that at least some of the petroglyphs date back more than 10,000 years to the last Ice Age which reached its peak about 20,000 years ago.

Petroglyphs are common on rock piles and boulder slopes

Petroglyphs are very common on the rock outcrops and distinctive rock piles and boulder slopes of the Dampier landscape. They are found in a bewildering variety of locations. They can be isolated motifs on inconspicuous individual boulders or low rock outcrops, or galleries of thousands of motifs on ridges or valley slopes of massive boulders. They can occur alone or as part of extensive complexes with other evidence of cultural activity. Petroglyphs are more common in some areas than others, but there is no area in the Archipelago, where they can be confidently pronounced to be absent. Petroglyphs can occur wherever suitable rock surfaces or boulders are found. Most individual motifs are relatively small–less than 30cm in size–and some are no more than a few centimetres. Few images are larger than 60cm although occasional ones are more than 150cm.

Several different techniques were used to make the petroglyphs and different types of tools must have been used. Pecking is generally the most common technique and both coarse and fine-grained tools were used. Sometimes the image was outlined with peck marks; sometimes the whole shape was filled in. Scored images were made by dragging a sharp point across the rock surface. Again, sometimes only the outline of the image was scored, while in other cases the image was filled in with parallel or cross-hatched lines. Abraded images were made by rubbing the rock to form a polished surface, either making a grooved outline or a complete shape. Sometimes, but not always, the image was pecked first and then abraded. Pounded images were produced by superficially bruising the rock surface. These images are very shallow and can be easy to overlook. Composite images were also produced using a combination of techniques.

The Dampier rock art is diverse in its subject matter. Subjects include geometric designs, tracks of humans, animals and birds, and naturalistic or figurative representations, including humans, and a wide range of animals and birds—both terrestrial and marine. These include some depictions of thylacines, or Tasmanian tigers, which have been extinct on mainland Australia for about 3000 years. There are also figures with both human and animal features which may represent mythological characters. Animals and humans are shown both as images and as tracks. Human figures are sometimes shown carrying objects such as boomerangs or wearing head dresses. Local Aboriginal Elders have identified some figures as having ceremonial significance and stated that they should not be viewed by uninitiated people.

As well as individual motifs, there are panels which show scenes or composite images. Some of these have been clearly added to over a long time period. The most famous is the so-called ‘Climbing Men’ panel. Other types of scenes show daily activities such as hunting. Tracks can sometimes be followed as trails over a considerable distance and some lead to large images of humans or kangaroos. These may well represent the routes of ancestral beings.

The Dampier rock art is also diverse in terms of style. A number of distinct styles have been noted. Some representations of animals and birds for example can be identified as particular species, while others show the subject in a highly stylised way. There are several different styles of human figures, including various types of stick figures and outlined figures. One distinctive style shows the head as a detached blob. Another style shows human figures with exaggerated hands and feet. Some of these variations are likely to reflect the long time period over which the petroglyphs were produced. Detailed analysis of the relationship between motifs, techniques of production and weathering can show this. For example, human figures with exaggerated hands and feet seem always to be relatively fresh in appearance. This therefore seems to be a relatively recent style. By contrast, the ‘archaic faces’ with their large owl-like eyes, and complex geometric maze-like designs, are normally weathered and have little or no colour contrast. Both these types of motifs are thought to be among the oldest art in the Archipelago.

Other stylistic differences may reflect regional variation and suggest that the Dampier Archipelago may have been an important meeting place for groups from different parts of the Pilbara. The Pilbara is itself a very important rock art province with several distinct regional styles. These are all represented in the Dampier Archipelago, which in turn has its own distinctive elements.

2015-09-30 |

Projects : Rock-Art in the Chillagoe-Mungana

Research project at PERAHU, Griffith University studying rock-art in the Chillagoe-Mungana limestone belt.

2017-05-10 |

Projects : Archaeological Investigation of Rock Art In the Philippines

Investigation of Rock Art In the Philippines

2015-09-30 |

Projects : Protect Australia's Spirit

Protecting Australia’s Spirit is about documenting, conserving and managing Australia’s Indigenous Rock Art. Australia has some of the most stunning and powerful Rock Art images in the world, some of the oldest and most recent, and much more than any other country. Australia’s Rock Art heritage is as great as all its sporting achievements on the world stage combined together yet much of it is neglected, undocumented and destroyed.

Little is spent on researching and protecting Australia’s rock art, Australia’s spirit. Each year Australian Rock Art suffers vandalism, industrial and urban development, climate change, inadequate protection measures and general neglect. Indigenous Australians are fighting to protect their Rock Art but because of new pressures from development it is like leaving the crown jewels out in High Street or the National Gallery collection lying on the ground.

Instead of being proud of one of the best aspects of Australian heritage and Australia’s Spirit we are squandering our Indigenous legacy. In many parts of Australia Aboriginal heritage sites are treated the way many Aboriginal people were recently treated – with distain, neglect, indifference, lack of respect and even violence.

We seek to establish a national heritage archive, register, research and education facility that will bring diverse information on Australia’s entire rock art record together for the first time in order to safeguard this priceless inheritance for future generations.

South Africa leads the world in terms of national rock art archives with a major repository at the Rock Art Research Institute (RARI) in Johannesburg. Many other nations have smaller scale national registers and archives but Australia has never had one. Recently both India and China have established national Rock Art recording projects but Australia still drags its heels.


Natural impacts
Water flow/rain (e.g. changes)
Dust & wind
Fire & smoke
Structural collapse
Vegetation growth/rubbing
Lichen/algal growth
Mineralisation (salt/calcification)
Insects (termites) and animals
Direct sunlight (changes in vegetation)
Earthquakes, storms

Cultural impacts
Industry (mining and other industrial & urban development)
Creation of new roads/tracks
Graffiti (kids, frustrated teenagers, ignorant adults!)
Theft (removal of art or other cultural material)
Unwanted visitation and vandalism
Tourism (e.g. touching, inappropriate infrastructure)
Researchers (rock art recorders, archaeologists excavating, etc.)
Well-meaning conservation specialists (e.g. poorly placed drip lines)

2015-09-29 |

Resources : Ughtasar Rock Art Project

Ughtasar is a major rock art site located in the caldera of an extinct volcano in the Syunik Mountains of southern Armenia. In a spectacular landscape bounded by a rim of craggy peaks and rounded hills the site is home to almost a thousand carved rocks bearing abstract and figurative motifs pecked millennia ago onto the surfaces of basalt boulders disgorged long before as streams of lava. At 3300 metres above sea level the site is snowbound for nearly nine months of the year yet supports a rich and varied ecosystem of flora and fauna including bears, wolves, foxes and wild boar.

The Ughtasar Rock Art Project, initiated in 2009, involves a systematic survey of the petroglyphs and other archaeological features, in their immediate landscape context. The main aim of the project’s largely self-funded team is to seek a deeper understanding of the significance of Ughtasar to the people who created the petroglyphs and of the ways in which they ‘marked’ the landscape of this unique place within Armenia’s rich cultural and archaeological heritage. The project is using both traditional and innovative methods of recording, analysis and interpretation and brings together archaeologists, art historians and other specialists from Armenia, the UK, Japan and the USA, together with an enthusiastic group of Armenian students and volunteers.

There is an urgent need to document and protect the site. Many of the carvings are eroding in the harsh climatic conditions, exacerbated in recent years by visitors walking over some of the fragile carved surfaces. Attempts must be made to forestall further damage to the petroglyphs and to the delicate balance of the rich ecosystem within the caldera.

Armenia has a wealth of fascinating rock art, little known or understood but worthy of wider domestic and international recognition. Rock art is one of the most important and direct ways of linking our modern world to that of our remote ancestors. We can never hope, of course, to fully understand the complex meanings of the signs and symbols but the carved figures provide enticing clues to the perceptions and concerns of their creators several thousand years ago.

2015-09-30 |

Places : Chillagoe-Mungana

Rock-art in the Chillagoe limestone belt.

2015-09-26 |

Resources : Qobustan Museum - Gobustan National Historical-Artistic Preserve

Gobustan geographical region is situated in East Azerbaijan and borders on the southern slope of Big Caucasus ridge in the north, Pirsaat River in the west, Harami and Mishov mountains in the south, the Caspian Sea and Absheron peninsula in the east. The area is rich with gorges and ravines. The meaning of the word «Gobustan» is derived from two words «gobu» – «ravine» and «stan» — «place», i.e. ravine area. The word «gobu» is of Turkic origin and means «a dried up river valley». The length of this area (from north to south) is 100 km., the width is approximately 80 km. The average height of the area is 600-700 m. The biggest mud volcanoes in the Caucasus are located in Gobustan. Although Gobustan is a mountainous area, here a great number of rocky rows can be met. Semidesert areas have been developed here.

Results of archaeological excavations and research works in Gobustan reveal that here, i.e. on the territory of Beyukdash and Kichikdash Mountains the history of ancient man’s dwelling begins since Upper Paleolith, i.e. since 35-34 thousand years B.C. It means that if life in Gobustan started since Upper Paleolith, there were favorable conditions for it, i.e. the climate was auspicious, flora and fauna were abundant. Subtropic climate is characteristic of Gobustan: winter is mild, summer is hot and dry. Rainfall amount is quite small. Rains are usually observed since autumn until middle spring. The main river of Gobustan is Jeyrankechmez. Waters are salty and chiefly fed with rain waters. Generally, rivers in this area are fed with rainfalls and small springs of the Big Caucasus.

What concerns Gobustan flora, it is poor from the point of view of its thickness. Here, among the rocks, blackberry, juniper, wild cherry, pomegranate, grapes, hawthorn, willow pear and other plants prove that in ancient times the climate of this territory was quite damp, i.e. the amount of rainfalls was high. Fauna of Gobustan is also very poor. If earlier there were a lot of gazelles, ibexes, wild oxen, deer, horses, lions and other animals important for hunting, now we can come across only wolves, foxes, grey hares, wild cats, tortoises and others.
On September 9, 1966, the territory of 4400 hectares, including Beyukdash, Kichikdash, Jingirdag Mountains and Yazylytepe where ancient rock carvings, archaeological monuments and sites were registered, by the Decree of the Council of Ministers of the Republic was declared as State Historical-Artistic Preserve. Here, also Shongardag and Shakhgaya rock carvings collections are included.
The territory of the preserve covers the town in the south-east of Gobustan which is not so far from the Caspian Sea. Here, the upper stratum of the mountains consists of Absheron limestone layers of 10-15 m. in thickness. Their soil coverage was not so thick, approximately 20-150 mm.
After Gobustan rock carvings were revealed in 1939, their study was for the first time launched by a prominent Azerbaijani archaeologist Ishag Jafarzade. The same year he started rock carvings survey on Jingirdag and Yazylytepe; in 1940- on the territory of Beyukdash and Kichikdash Mountains. However, a systematic study of Gobustan rock carvings was delayed for the beginning of World War II, since 1947 this work had been restarted. At present, in the collection of Gobustan rock carvings the number of monuments revealed on the territory of Beyukdash, Kichikdash, Jingirdag, Yazylytepe, Shongar, Shixgaya mountains is more than 6000 on a

2015-09-26 |

Resources : Open Africa - Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project

This unique project highlights an important part of South African history - that of the San/Bushmen. Tourists and school children learn to respect and understand the San way of life, art and language by visiting the Living Landscape Centre and participating in rock art tours. The centre’s workshop and shop at 18 Park Street, Clanwilliam, has crafts produced on the San theme of history and archaeology, traditional methods of production, use of authentic materials and natural objects.

Rock art tours can be arranged from the centre. The community guides are trained by professional research archaeologists from the University of Cape Town with decades of experience of local rock paintings and stone age archaeology. The rock art sites visited during the tours are close to Clanwilliam.

Alongside the Centre is a backpackers’ facility. Books by John Parkington about the project and the rock art are on sale.

2015-09-24 |

Resources : The British Museum African Rock Art Image Project

Discover 30,000 years of rock art

Africa’s rock art is as diverse as the continent itself. In 2013, the African rock art image project team began cataloguing around 25,000 digital photographs of rock art from across Africa – originally from the Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) – through generous support from the Arcadia Fund.

Combining a wide range of research from the British Museum, TARA and colleagues in Africa, the project is cataloguing and digitally preserving African rock art, ensuring global open access well into the future.

On these pages, you can explore the images catalogued so far by country,
and find out more through a series of themes. You can also find answers to some key questions about African rock art:

How was African rock art made?
How can African rock art be dated?
What are the origins of art and rock art in Africa?

2015-09-24 |

Places : Malarrak

The Malarrak complex is located within the Wellington Range, the northern most outlier of the Arnhem Land Plateau in the far north of the Northern Territory. The Wellington Range is home to extensive and diverse rock art, including many examples of paintings that reflect contact between local Aboriginal people and international visitors. The Malarrak sites are located within the traditional country of Maung speakers, where Ronald Lamilami is a Manganowal Senior Traditional Owner.

During the dry season of 2008, the Malarrak complex was recorded using rock art recording procedures developed over many years. This included compiling a detailed inventory of the art and noting the layering of different styles and subject matter. The main shelter is comprised of one large art panel that measures 31 metres long by 4.8 metres deep. This shelter contains a minimum of 232 paintings and 8 stencils in 17 layers. The remaining three rock shelters contain at least: 128 paintings, 6 stencils and 2 beeswax figures. A total of 34 paintings that clearly depict introduced subject-matter (contact art) were recorded at Malarrak and include an astonishing 17 European sailing vessels and much smaller numbers of horned introduced animals, guns and smoking paraphernalia.

2015-09-26 |

Places : Djulirri

Djulirri is located in the Wellington Range of Australia’s Northern Territory, south of Goulburn Island in Arnhem Land. Western Arnhem Land and the adjacent Kakadu National Park have long been famous for exquisite and extraordinary rock art with many thousands of sites documented and new discoveries made each year. The region boasts an impressive chronology with numerous styles, forms and subjects argued to have been produced from at least 15,000 years ago to well after Aboriginal contact with people from Asia and Europe. Djulirri is the largest art site within the Maung language group’s traditional territory and today is at the western side of senior traditional owner Ronald Lamilami’s clan estate.
Across a 51 metre length of dissected sandstone, Djulirri’s main gallery has more than 1100 paintings, stencils, prints, and figures made from the resinous wax of native bees in three adjacent wall/ceiling areas. There are another 52 panels within this complex with at least a further 2000 examples of rock art, making it the largest known pigment site yet documented in Australia. The entire complex is arranged in a horseshoe-like shape measuring about 180 metres by 120 metres, oriented roughly northwest – southeast. A cluster of other sites can be found nearby.
The site complex is unique in that across the Top End of the Northern Territory there are no other sites that display all Arnhem Land styles in one location. The Lamilami family argue there were various motivations for producing the art, including recording the arrival of newcomers such as Macassans and Europeans, and that in many ways their sites are like ‘journals’, ‘history books’ and ‘libraries’ that reflect changing times, relationships to land and other creatures, the power of Ancestral Beings that created and/or shaped the world and individual experience.

2015-09-24 |

Sites : Rock Wallabies Site

Rock Wallabies Site at Wollemi National Park

2015-09-24 |

Sites : Gallery Rock

Gallery Rock in Wollemi National Park

2015-09-24 |

Sites : Emu Cave

Emu cave in Wollemi National Park.

2015-09-24 |

Sites : Eagle's Reach

rock art motifs at Eagle's Reach

2015-09-24 |

Places : Wollemi National Park

Like all of Australia, Wollemi National Park, within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area of New South Wales, has long been a dynamic place inscribed with story, imagery and spirituality for Aboriginal Australians. In 2001, The Landscape of Blue Mountain Rock Art research project began to investigate this. Since then, this Griffith University – Blue Mountains Aboriginal Community – Australian Museum project has located over 200 rock art sites in Wollemi National Park, consisting of drawings, stencils, engravings and some paintings.
Two of the largest, best preserved and spiritually significant sites are Eagle’s Reach, a sandstone rock shelter with drawings and stencils, and Gallery Rock, an engraved rock platform. Although images were made using very different techniques there are many common subjects and stylistic features between the sites. For contemporary Aboriginal people of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area these two sites are highly significant as cultural places that are focal points within larger cultural landscapes.
From the beginning this has been a highly collaborative project, with all aspects jointly managed and conducted by individuals of both the Aboriginal and archaeological communities, from initial survey to recording, to analysis and publication. The project aims to better understand the relationship between the cultural heritage, especially rock art sites, of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and that of other parts of New South Wales and to describe culture change in Wollemi National Park over the past few thousand years. Research involves extensive ongoing community consultation and participation. Fieldwork is concentrated in the southern half of Wollemi National Park, within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : UNESCO World Heritage Centre

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance (see list of World Heritage Sites).[1] The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states' parties[2] which are elected by their General Assembly.[3]

The programme catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The programme was founded with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage,[4] which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since then, 190 states parties have ratified the Convention, making it one of the most adhered to international instruments. Only the Bahamas, Liechtenstein, Nauru, Somalia, South Sudan, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu are not Party to the Convention.

As of 2014, 1007 sites are listed: 779 cultural, 197 natural, and 31 mixed properties, in 161 states parties.[5][6] By sites ranked by country, Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites with 50 sites, followed by China (47), Spain (44), Germany (39) and France (39). UNESCO references each World Heritage Site with an identification number; but new inscriptions often include previous sites now listed as part of larger descriptions. As a result, the identification numbers exceed 1,200 even though there are fewer on the list.

While each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located, UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
(source: World Heritage Site. (2014) Retrieved July 04, 2014, from

For more information see: Unesco World Heritage Centre. (2014) UNESCO World Heritage Centre - Plans underway for the creation of an International World Heritage Rock Art Archive. Retrieved July 04, 2014, from

2015-10-07 |

Projects : Place, Evolution and Rock Art Heritage Unit (PERAHU), Griffith University

PERAHU, pronounced ‘prow’ or ‘proa’ is an acronym for the Place, Evolution and Rock Art Heritage Unit. This focused research unit links Griffith staff and students to a highly collaborative international network of researchers and Indigenous peoples undertaking innovative visual, symbolic, landscape and cultural evolution research across Australasia. It is purposely outward-focused, with an emphasis on external collaboration beyond institutional and national borders in order to maximize research and funding opportunities in several countries to the benefit of our understanding of the region as a whole.

Key aims and mission
To promote excellence in Australian and international rock art, human evolution and place research.
To train and supervise cohorts of post-graduate students in rock art, human evolution and place research.
To raise national and international public awareness of the importance of Australian rock art, human evolution and place research.
To provide a forum for the development of new national and international research projects and strategies.
To encourage the incorporation and development of new ideas, new technologies, and new perspectives in rock art, human evolution and place research.
To establish a collaborative national rock art institute.
To tell the human story in new ways that will engage and inform the general public.

Research activity focuses on rock art and material culture as forms of expression that not only reflect individual and group identity but also how past peoples responded to and symbolically expressed relationships to changing cultural and natural landscapes.
The goal of this research is to advance global knowledge about human cultural evolution during the past 50,000 years and to highlight the importance of rock pictures as datasets that provide unique insights into the past, especially since the end of the Pleistocene. Ancient DNA studies, palaeanthropological, archaeological, anthropological and other research is thus also a key part of PERAHU’s research program.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : Digital Rock Art Wiki

The purpose of this web site is to support the development of software for recording rock art. DigitalRockArt is an experimental application designed for three groups of users:

Land managers or owners
Rock art recorders
Rock art researchers

The DigitalRockArt application can be described as a web-based photo album integrated with an SQL relational database. The relational database is used to create standardized reports and to facilitate research across multiple rock art sites.

The goal of the application is to explore ways to facilitate recording large numbers of rock art sites with the use of volunteer recorders. To date, the application has been used to record 120 Arizona rock art sites. The database is comprised of approximately 10,000 digital images, 7,000 rock art panels, and 21,000 rock art elements.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : The Socotra Karst Project

The Socotra Karst Project (SKP) is since a decennium exploring, mapping and studying the underground of Socotra.
Initiated in 2000 as an attempt to look for caves on the island,
the project gradually grew into a multidisciplinary research group linked with universities, individuals and NGO’s around the world.
We literally penetrate further into the enigmatic history of Socotra on both a cultural as a natural level.
During and thanks to our expeditions caves were discovered, mapped and inventoried;
freshwater resources became available for local communities; speleothems got dated and their isotope signatures studied;
new endemic cave fauna got described; archaeological artefacts and petroglyphs were revealed; while all of this got intensively photographed and even filmed.
The islands isolation played a crucial role in the preservation and evolutionary human equilibrium with nature.
Today however the archipelago is declared as a Unesco World Heritage site and due to an, already daily,
air bridge tourism and general exploitation has probably never been so prominent.
The uniqueness’s of this Arabian pearl is currently at stake.
Therefore we are reorienting us towards protection and sustainable management of the islands underground potentials.
Together with the local communities, Yemeni government and international stakeholders
we hope to contribute in making some long term beneficial decisions based on thorough impact assessment studies.
Hopefully you enjoy the site and feel the need to contribute!

Peter De Geest
SKP initiator

other Keywords: Dahaisi cave Socotra, Yemen

2015-09-18 |

Resources : eCRAG

eCRAG is a voluntary group of members of the Western Cape Branch of the South African Archaeological Society. Our aim is to locate and document rock art sites in the eastern Cederberg and to make the information available for management and research. We currently upload our records to SAHRIS (the South African Heritage Resources Information System) so that they are openly and digitally available to the public.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : Arabian Rock Art Heritage, Carnegie Museum, PA, USA

Keywords: rock art, Arabian, Middle East, Media, Technology, Panoramic Images, GigaPan, petroglyph

This Web site is designed to give scientists and the public an opportunity to explore rock art in the remote landscape of Saudi Arabia. Take a tour and learn about the ancient people who carved the petroglyphs and the animals they hunted and herded. We have chosen some exciting imaging techniques to best depict this dramatic art. Some of our Web pages are interactive, allowing you to zoom in on specific figures or navigate around an image (GigaPans), or change the lighting on an image to see more (RTIs).

2015-09-18 |

Resources : World Monument Fund (WMF)

Keywords: rock art, conservation, international database, comprehensive archive

World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organization dedicated to saving the world’s most treasured places.

Since 1965, in more than 90 countries, our experts have been racing against time, applying proven techniques to preserve important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe.

Through partnerships with local communities, funders, and governments, we inspire an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations.

An increasing number of irreplaceable sites are at risk, making it ever more critical that we take action to preserve our shared heritage. Your help is vital. We would not be able to accomplish our work without the involvement and support of a dedicated global community of people who care about cultural heritage.

Join our efforts to save the world's most treasured places by getting involved or supporting our work. Nearly 85 percent of our revenue goes directly toward preservation projects, fieldwork, advocacy, and educational programs.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : Western Rock Art Research

Keywords: rock art, American Indian, method, methodology, education, general interest, conservation monitoring


Rock art has been a part of human expression for over 30,000 years, yet more ancient rock art is lost every day. We are committed to doing what we can to help save what is left of this precious resource. Our members have been working together for over fifteen years, and have documented several hundred sites in the Mojave Desert, the American Southwest and the Great Basin.

Founded in 2006, Western Rock Art Research is a small non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation, documentation, and research of Indigenous and early historic rock art in the American west and throughout the world. For more information please read our Mission Statement below.

Mission Statement
The purpose of Western Rock Art Research is to promote and facilitate the preservation and scientific research of prehistoric and historic rock art heritage resources on private and public lands throughout the world, focusing on the western United States. This mission is accomplished by: initiating an active inventory program to identify endangered, at risk resources followed by thorough resource documentation to current standards, significance evaluation, and resource management planning to meet the needs of private, state and federal land managers; establishing and maintaining a permanent digital and electronic archival record to be shared with appropriate land managers and recognized repositories or academic institutions; consulting with appropriate Native American and Aboriginal groups to incorporate their perspectives and concerns; engaging the services of specialists and other professionals as deemed necessary; and cooperatively working with fellow researchers, organizations, and institutions to promote the distribution of rock art research and encourage and support public education to broaden our common knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of rock art.
Increased development and recreational use has led to a similar increase in the amount of damage occurring to cultural resources on both public and private lands. Prehistoric sites that include panels of painted or carved rock art are especially vulnerable, and occur throughout the American west, yet each one is unique. It is estimated that less than 20% of the known rock art in California has been documented to current standards. Secondary purposes of the organization include consulting and cooperating with other concerned groups (Native Americans, researchers, land owners, avocational groups, etc.), and providing public education about current practices in rock art research and management.
Funding is accomplished through partnership agreements with public land management agencies and private landowners, as well as private and business tax-free donations. Western Rock Art Research assumes more than 50% of the cost of any project (labor, expenses, etc.). Lectures or presentations for public education are provided for a nominal fee (expenses, etc.). Offers of donations from corporations, foundations, or private individuals for the support of any project are accepted.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : Utah Rock Art Research Association (URARA)

Keyword: rock art, Utah, awareness, conservation, education

Membership in URARA includes Vestiges, the monthly newsletter, reduced prices on books and symposiums, and full information about field trips. URARA is a non-profit organization, all proceeds are used to cover expenses and contributions to rock art projects. If you could fill out the following form we can get started on making you a member of URARA. URARA has a Universal Renewal Date of October 31 of each year. Members who join in the months up to May will renew the following October. Members who join in June will be renewed to the next year. There will be a 2-month grace period before the computer drops names from the membership list if dues are not paid. URARA will continue to accept personal checks by mail. On-line payment by credit card is not currently available. It is possible to join URARA and renew memberships when registering for the Symposium in October.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : Upper Midwest Rock Art Research Association (UMRARA)

Keywords: rock art, North America, American Indian

Dedicated to publicizing the rock art research being conducted in the Upper Midwest of the United States, including - but not limited to - Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : University of the Witwatersand, Rock Art Research Institute

Over the last 25 years, researchers from the Institute have scoured the Maluti Mountains of the Free State and the Drakensberg Mountains of Kwazulu-Natal/Eastern Cape, seeking out and analysing rock paintings. Many experts describe the rock art of this area as the finest in the world. But, the art of this area is now known for more than just its beauty. 25 years of research at the Institute has made this amongst the best understood of the all the world?s rock arts. Using knowledge of San beliefs, researchers have shown that the art played a fundamental part in the religious lives of its San painters. The art captured things from the San?s world behind the rock-face: the other world inhabited by spirit creatures, to which dancers could travel in animal form, and where people of ecstasy could draw power and bring it back for healing, rain-making and capturing the game.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : University of New Mexico, The Pueblo of Sandia Petroglyph Project

Keywords: rock art, Pueblo od Sandia, petroglyphs, Petroglyph National Monument, American Indian, Albuquerque, New Mexico, computer science, scanning, topography, geolocation data

During July and August 1995 a group of six students from Sandia Pueblo worked on a project recording petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The students in the group were Loren Gutierrez, Brandi Torivio, Rebecca Trujillo, Scott Paisano, Estella Tsethlikai and Domingo Otero. The project goal was to record all the rock art at Piedras Las Mercadas which is one of the many sites at Petroglyph Monument. The Monument is on the fast-growing west side of Albuquerque and is encroached upon and threatened by nearby housing developments. Our goal is also to record all petroglyphs systematically and thoroughly for inclusion in a computer database.
The project is sponsored by The Chamisa Foundation of Santa Fe and the Pueblo of Sandia. The project coordinators are Henry Walt and John Brayer.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : University of Durham Rock Art Past and Present

Keywords: rock art, laser scan, megalithic rock art, Britain, education, teaching

Site detailing the studies and projects in rock-art at Durham University, UK.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : University of Arkansas (UArk), Rock Art in Arkansas

Keywords: rock art, North America, American Indian, Arkansas, searchable database

Welcome to Rock Art in Arkansas
Welcome to the new expanded and redesigned Rock Art in Arkansas Website. If you have used this Website before, please update your bookmarks, and take a few moments to browse. We have edited and improved all our existing content, and added many new features. The Quick Facts, Articles, and Technical Papers have all been updated. There is now an Advanced Search option for the greatly expanded Database. A new Interpretations menu contains short articles offering our views on how to understand Arkansas rock art. More will be added as research continues.

The archeological heritage of Arkansas includes one of the most remarkable concentrations of American Indian rock art in eastern North America. Human, animal, geometric, and abstract motifs were rendered as carved and pecked petroglyphs, painted pictographs, and combination forms. These images provide a fascinating glimpse of the world as viewed by the Indians who inhabited Arkansas prior to European and American exploration and settlement.

The earlier version of this Website was created as part of a project called "Drawing on the Past: Educational Resources for the Study of Arkansas Rock Art," funded in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. The current version was produced in connection with a three-year research project titled "Arkansas Rock Art and the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex," funded by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The resources you will find here are intended for use by archeologists, educators and students, and the general public. We hope you find these materials interesting and useful. Check back often, as we are constantly adding new information and features. Please contact us at to let us know what you think about this Web site and what else you wish to see.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : University of Arkansas (UArk), Arkansas Archaeological Survey (AAS), Visualizing Rock Art Sites in Northwest Arkansas

Keywords: rock art, Arkansas, American Indian, visualization, archaeology, 3D reconstruction, visual tour, amazing virtual tour, Narrows, Jacobs Rock, Carrian Crow Mountain

With a history rich in Native American heritage, Northwest Arkansas possesses one of the greatest concentrations of rock art sites in eastern North America. Rock art is a valuable archeological resource because it provides intriquing images of how people lived and how they viewed the world around them. Rock art sites are unique in that the art itself is inextricable from the site. The images are typically painted or etched onto rock surfaces and are therefore exposed to elements of time, erosion, environmental stress, and human vandalism. This makes them among the most fragile of archaeological sites.

Need to Visualize
With a need to protect Arkansas' rock art yet still promote the cultural value of these sites, the Arkansas Archaeological Survey (AAS) teamed up with the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) to produce a series of site visualizations that document and explore rock art sites in Northwest Arkansas. The visualizations are a combination of 3D site models, animations, QTVR's (Quicktime Virtual Reality presentations), and digital video clips - all of which portray the sites in their current state.

The goal of this project is to create rock art site visualizations that provide the viewer with a sense of what it is like to be at the site by portraying the site as completely and accurately as possible. This includes accurate visualization of the site, the rock art motifs, and the contextual/environmental setting.

2015-09-18 |

Resources : Trust For African Rock Art (TARA)

Keywords: rock art, Africa, conservation, awareness, publications, resources

Our Mission
To create greater global awareness of the importance and endangered state of African rock art; survey sites; monitor status; be an information resource and archive; and promote and support rock art conservation measures.

TARA is the world's only organisation dedicated to this cultural imperative, and as such it has received support and recognition from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the National Geographic Society, among others. TARA's singular contributions have also been widely acclaimed in the scientific and popular media including National Geographic, Time, Natural History, People and the London Times.

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