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Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

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Issue No.8: Autumn 2012

Dear All,

‘Age’ figures strongly in this Autumn’s Rock Articles: we bring you contenders for the titles of ‘oldest rock art’ in Britain, in Spain, and in Australia, and we celebrate the 80 th birthday of the ‘King of the Rocks’, Stan Beckensall. We are also pleased to include a report from Tertia Barnett recounting her experiences recording rock art the ‘Swedish way’. If you are inspired to try it yourself, just follow the links provided. On a less positive note we must report damage to two important British rock art panels, in West Yorkshire and Cumbria respectively. That’s all from me; enjoy the low winter sun on those cups and rings.


October 2012



New British Discoveries: Rombalds Moor


British Rock Art News


World Rock Art on the Web: international news and links


Sun Burn: rock art recording in Sweden by Tertia Barnett


BRAG 2012: conference report from Mark Sapwell


Stanfest: celebrating Stan Beckensall’s 80 th birthday


Dates for your Diary: forthcoming conferences, day schools, and other events


Rock Art Reads: new and forthcoming publications


Inspired by Rock Art: creative responses to cup and ring marks



This issue features a selection of the 23 new panels identified in the Rombalds Moor area of West Yorkshire. The panels were found by trained volunteers participating in the Carved Stone Investigations project. They were discovered during surveys to record known rock art in the area. All the panels will be recorded and added to the ERA database at the end of the project.

If you have identified any new rock art and would like to feature your find here, please get in touch. 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.

to and verified by the relevant local authority HER officer. Coarse Stone Edge 02a. Single cup.

Coarse Stone Edge 02a. Single cup.

authority HER officer. Coarse Stone Edge 02a. Single cup. Rivock 33. In moorland to E of

Rivock 33. In moorland to E of Rivock plantation. Quarried rock with linear features and cup-like depressions.

rock with linear features and cup-like depressions. Dene Hole 01a. Single cup in a wall. High

Dene Hole 01a. Single cup in a wall.

cup-like depressions. Dene Hole 01a. Single cup in a wall. High Carr 08. Portable rock with

High Carr 08. Portable rock with single cup.

cup in a wall. High Carr 08. Portable rock with single cup. Rivock 34. In moorland

Rivock 34. In moorland E of Rivock plantation. Cup and ring.

Photos courtesy of the CSI:Rombalds Moor Project database.

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Issue No 8: Autumn 2012


Sadly, two instances of vandalism make the headlines this issue, but there is more positive news from the CSI Project, and progress with dating the oldest rock art in Britain.

Aggressive cleaning at Copt Howe

Someone has been busy cleaning the lichen and algae from a motif at the unique Lake District panel of Copt Howe, near Chapel Stile in the valley of Great Langdale.

The photograph on the left below shows the carvings in good light (August 2005), although some of the rings are obscured by lichen (see lower right section). The image on the right was taken in July 2012 and clearly shows the scrubbed motif. The carvings are difficult to see in poor lighting, and a dark film of algae has developed during the damp summer, but why anyone should attempt to ‘clean’ the surface so severely is baffling.

attempt to ‘clean’ the surface so severely is baffling. Photo: Kate Sharpe Photo: Andy Jones ‘Noah’,

Photo: Kate Sharpe

the surface so severely is baffling. Photo: Kate Sharpe Photo: Andy Jones ‘Noah’, ‘Jonah’, and ‘Blakey’

Photo: Andy Jones

‘Noah’, ‘Jonah’, and ‘Blakey’ deface Hanging Stones

Meanwhile, on Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire the famous Hanging Stones have been subject to a nasty episode of grafitti involving a chisel, and resulting in 1cm deep carvings. ‘Blakey’ has obliterated part of a cup and ring mark. Discussions will be held shortly between interested parties, agencies, and authorities to find ways to deal with the present incident, and to prevent similar attacks in the future.

ways to deal with the present incident, and to prevent similar atta cks in the future.

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Photos: Richard Stroud.

Issue No 8: Autumn 2012 CSI volunteers lead walk for the Festival of British Archaeology
Issue No 8: Autumn 2012 CSI volunteers lead walk for the Festival of British Archaeology

Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

Issue No 8: Autumn 2012 CSI volunteers lead walk for the Festival of British Archaeology The

CSI volunteers lead walk for the Festival of British Archaeology

The sun shone as a team from CSI: Rombalds Moor led a walk across Ilkley Moor on Sunday 22nd July as part of the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of British Archaeology. This was an excellent opportunity for the team to share their knowledge and experiences. The walk took in just some of the many carved stones, and the early prehistoric enclosure at Backstone Beck.

Members of the CSI team talked about the environment during the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age (the time when most of the stones were carved), discussed the different theories surrounding them, and demonstrated the techniques that they are using to make detailed records of each of the panels. The walk was a great success and promoted lots of interesting discussion about the carved rocks and the surrounding landscape.

By July the CSI Field Agents had racked up a total of 731 hrs of fieldwork, 36 hrs of photography, and 62.5 hrs on paperwork. They had recorded 75%* of their target 446 panels, and identified 23 new ones, but the sad news is that 26 previously recorded panels have proved impossible to locate and must be considered lost.

Read more about the latest CSI adventures on Rombalds Moor in the project blog at http://csirm.wordpress.com/

Photos: Louise Brown.

*Latest update: only 50 panels still to do!

Early date confirmed for Gower reindeer

In Rock Articles 6 (Oct 2011) we reported an exciting discovery made by Dr George Nash from the Department of Archaeology & Anthropology at Bristol University. George was exploring the rear section of Cathole Cave, a limestone cave that stands on the eastern side of an inland valley on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales when he spotted some scratched lines forming of a figure which looked like a side on view of a reindeer. The figure, measuring approximately 15 x 11cm, was engraved using a sharp pointed tool, probably flint, and carved by an artist using his or her right hand. The various engraved lines were cut into a flowstone surface.

In April 2011 members of the NERC- Open University Uranium-series Facility extracted samples from the surface on which the engraving was located for Uranium Series dating. They also removed a sample from a section of flowstone that covered a section of the reindeer's muzzle. The minimum dates from the flowstone :

muzzle. The minimum dates from the flowstone :  12,572 +/- 600 yrs BP (CH-10 GHS2);

12,572 +/- 600 yrs BP (CH-10 GHS2); and

14,505 +/- 560 yrs BP


make this Britain’s earliest rock art.

See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-


Image: George Nash

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News from India, Australia, Spain, and Sudan.

Oldest rock art in Australia

University of Southern Queensland archaeologist Bryce Barker says he has found the oldest piece of rock art in Australia and one of the oldest in the world: created 28,000 years ago in an Outback cave. The dating of one of the thousands of images in the Northern Territory rock shelter known as Nawarla Gabarnmang will be published in the next edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science. The rock art was made with charcoal, so radiocarbon dating has been used to determine its age.

"It's the oldest unequivocally dated rock art in Australia" and among the oldest in the world, Barker said.

Story published June 18 2012 at :http://news.yahoo.com/archaeologist-finds-oldest-


The oldest rock art in Spain

Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

The oldest rock art in Spain Issue No 8: Autumn 2012 Image credit: Nerja Cave Foundation

Image credit: Nerja Cave Foundation

Researchers have used refined dating techniques to get a more accurate determination of the age of symbols found in Spanish caves. One motif - a faint red dot - is said to be more than 40,000 years old. Dr Alistair Pike from Bristol University reports: "In Cantabria, [in] El Castillo, we find hand stencils that are formed by blowing paint against the hands pressed against the wall of a cave. We find one of these to date older than 37,300 years on 'The Panel of Hands', and very nearby there is a red disc made by a

very similar technique that dates to older than 40,800 years. The team dated the paintings by examining the calcium carbonate

(calcite) crusts that had formed on top. The oldest dates coincide with the first known immigration into Europe of modern humans. Before about 41,000 years ago it was the Neanderthals who dominated the continent, raising questions about who might have made the markings.

If Homo sapiens were responsible then it means they engaged in the activity almost immediately upon their arrival in Europe. Co-author Joao Zilhao, a research professor at ICREA, University of Barcelona, said "There is a strong chance that these results imply Neanderthal authorship, but I will not say we have proven it because we haven't, and it cannot be proven at this time.”

we haven't, and it cannot be proven at this time.” Image: Pedro Saura Read more at

Image: Pedro Saura

Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18449711

at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ science-environment-18449711 Detail from a painted rock shelter, believed to date to

Detail from a painted rock shelter, believed to date to 1200 - 200 BCE. Image: The Hindu.

Threat to painted rock shelters in South West India

Some of India’s rock art heritage dating back to the Neolithic and period is facing threat from the granite lobby and needs to be saved, reports The Hindu. Visual art historian K.V. Subramanyam said the painted granite rock shelters in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, discovered between 2009 and 2011, have priceless historical and archaeological value. “In some places, the paintings are not of human forms, especially those in Ghattamadamangala. The ones found here are coded, and may have been used for communication,” said the art historian. He appealed to the Archaeological Department to step in and save the paintings.

See http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Bangalore/article2632274.ece

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Sudanese appeal for international salvage operation

Sudan’s rich archaeological heritage (including rock art) is threatened by plans for a series of dams in areas including Kajbar, Shereiq, and Upper Atbara. The proposed dams will flood several regions along the Nile within three to six years. The Sudanese ministry for antiquities is appealing to the international archaeological community to conduct rescue operations.

International experts met representatives from the ministry and the Dams Implementation Unit at the British Museum in London in May this year to share information and lay the foundations for a large- scale rescue campaign reminiscent of the one mounted more than a decade ago when the Merowe Dam project was underway. Ironically, Sudanese cultural heritage may benefit from the political turmoil in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Iran and Iraq, as archaeologists prevented from working in these countries could be diverted to projects in Sudan.

Full report by Emily Blake in http://www.theartnewspaper.com/conservation

Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

Issue No 8: Autumn 2012 SUN BURN: ROCK ART RECORDING IN SWEDEN report by Tertia


Living in Scotland, my preference is always to head south to the sun in the summer (especially this summer), rather than north. However, the chance to spend a week recording Swedish rock carvings was enough to overcome my prejudices and in late July I arrived in Sweden to participate in the rock art field school at the Underslös Museum, Tanum in Northern Bohuslän.

The Museum was established in 1950 as a centre for rock art research and, for the last 35 years, it has been directed by Gerhard Milstreu, who also runs the annual field school. Every summer, a group of 25 or so archaeologists, artists, enthusiasts and students assembles at the museum for an intensive week of site visits, lectures, training and recording.

Scandinavian traditions

There are two recognised prehistoric rock carving traditions in Scandinavia. These have discrete, but overlapping, distributions. The earlier carvings are most frequent in northern Norway and Sweden and are thought to have been created by hunter-gatherers between c.8000 and 1800 BC. These engravings are characterised by depictions of wild animals (particularly elks, reindeer and bears), aquatic creatures, including fish and whales, and human figures, some with skis or in boats. Many of the carvings are thought to depict shamanic experiences, myths and cosmological narratives.

A different carving tradition predominates in

southern Norway and southern Sweden, dating

to the Nordic Bronze Age and Roman Iron Age

(c.1800 BC- AD 400) and characterised by images of boats, cattle, warriors, sun symbols and cup marks. This southern rock art is thought to encapsulate a rich mythology and belief system relating to the daily journey of the sun and opposing forces of day and night, light and dark, life and death.

forces of day and night, light and dark, life and death. Hunter-gather carvings at Alta, Finnmark,

Hunter-gather carvings at Alta, Finnmark, northern Norway. Following a tradition that was established in the early 20th century, the engravings on a few selected panels are painted to make the rock art more visible for visitors, As far as we know the carvings were not painted in prehistory.

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Tanum – a World Heritage Site

In Sweden, the southern rock art tradition is best documented in Northern Bohuslän. Over 1,500 carved panels have been recorded in this area since initial discoveries in the 17th century. More than 370 of these panels lie in the Tanum area, some 100 miles south of Oslo. The international significance and value of this area was acknowledged in 1994 when Tanum was established as a World Heritage Site. Today, the programme of recording and archiving the rock art continues avidly, and an impressive database is currently under construction as part of the Swedish Rock Art Research Archive Project. New panels are found occasionally, whilst known panels are regularly re-recorded to assess changes to the rock surface and to identify images which have been overlooked in earlier documentation.

Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

in earlier documentation. Issue No 8: Autumn 2012 Bronze Age carvings at Fossum, Tanum, showing some

Bronze Age carvings at Fossum, Tanum, showing some of the main themes of the southern rock art tradition, including boats, warriors and sun symbolism. Carvings at selected sites are painted to improve visibility but, as with the northern carvings, it is unlikely that they were painted originally

carvings, it is unlikely that they were painted originally Night recording at Kalleby, Tanum using artificial

Night recording at Kalleby, Tanum using artificial light

Night recording at Kalleby, Tanum using artificial light Building up the rubbings of the whole panel,

Building up the rubbings of the whole panel, Balkan, Tanum

Rock art recording the Swedish way

A standard methodology for recording the rock art was introduced over 30 years ago by Gerhard Milstreu and has been used ever since. I went to Tanum to find out more about it. First the rock surface is scrubbed clean to remove detritus, moss and algae. In rare cases, the surface is also treated with ethanol and covered for several months to kill off stubborn lichens. Once the surface is clean and dry the recording process begins. This has several stages and is largely weather dependent (one of several reasons why it would not be appropriate in Britain). Initially the rock surface is scrutinized at night using oblique artificial light. The carvings are very shallow and almost invisible in normal daylight, but low cross-light makes the images stand out vividly. Each carving can then be photographed, and its position on the rock surface marked with chalk.

Next, rubbings are made of the carved area by wiping carbon paper systematically across large sheets of white paper so that the intricate details of the engravings emerge on the paper.

The rubbings are used to guide the next phase. Once the rubbings have been completed and all carvings on the rock surface have been identified, the images are painted to make them visible for the archive photograph. The paint we used comprised chalk powder mixed with water to create a temporary white infill which would wash away the next time it rained (ideally after the archive photographs have been taken rather than before). Following photography, a paper proforma was completed to conclude the documentation.

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Team work: painting the carvings with a chalk powder solution to prepare the panel for

Team work: painting the carvings with a chalk powder solution to prepare the panel for the archive photograph

The rock art in Tanum attracts huge numbers of tourists every year and the images are often appropriated by local people for more contemporary uses such as decorating tee-shirts or to advertise local businesses. The significance of the carvings to local residents was apparent during the field school when a giant wooden sculpture of the sun horse, one of the most iconic symbols in Swedish rock art, was constructed in front of the museum. This effigy, created by a local artist, was to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the museum. For several days, people came from the surrounding area to admire the sculpture then, on our final evening, we ceremonially burnt it. However the gods did not seem too pleased with this sacrifice as it poured with rain the next day!

So although I didn’t go to Sweden for the sunshine, I did find a sun!

My thanks to Gerhard Mistreu, Ellen Meijer, and all the staff and trainees at Underslös Museum for a fascinating week. Tak så!

at Underslös Museum for a fascinating week. Tak så! - 7 - Issue No 8: Autumn

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Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

During the field school, I worked with a small team to record one large panel (Balkan) – the entire process took three long but very enjoyable days during which I got to know the carvings intimately. I had had some initial concerns about the recording methodology, not least because it incorporates a number of activities that we advise strongly against for British rock art: scrubbing, removing lichens, making rubbings and painting. However, the images in Scandinavia are more robust than in Britain, being carved into hard granite rather than our soft sandstones and schists. The rock surfaces in Norway and Sweden are exposed to more profound threats than a bit of human intervention; frost damage gouges out great chunks of rock every winter, while acid rain accelerates the rate at which the rock matrix deteriorates. These forces are difficult to combat. Regular recording provides extensive material for research and for detailed monitoring of the rate and nature of decay. Despite my initial doubts, the established methodology in Scandinavia works well for this purpose and generates very precise records, although the toolkit would benefit from the addition of 3D digital recording methods such as photogrammetry.

of 3D digital recording methods such as photogrammetry. Sun horse carving at Balkan, Tanum, after painting

Sun horse carving at Balkan, Tanum, after painting (image measures approx. 0.7m x 0.5m)

Sacrificing the sun horse in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Underslös Museum (sculpture measures approx. 7m x 5m)

Further information:

Underslös Museum and the Scandinavian Society for Prehistoric Art (including details of the field school):


Vitlyke Museum, Tanum:


Swedish Rock Art research Archives:


Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

Bristol University, May 2012 Report by Mark Sapwell With presentations covering rock art from across

Bristol University, May 2012

Report by Mark Sapwell

With presentations covering rock art from across Europe, Canada, Australia and south east Asia, this year’s meeting demonstrated the hugely diverse nature of rock art research. A common running theme of the session was the importance of marrying rock art with wider forms of archaeology, offering useful methods and insights for many archaeological researchers and enthusiasts.

The session began with Charlotte Haines’ discussion of the contemporary graffiti of Bristol. Charlotte explored the democracy and community value of graffiti and its use in turning the landscape into a narrative of city life. Her examples brought an enjoyable local feel to the session, as well as offering valuable analogies to the study of communal art and landscape in archaeology.

Covering for an unfortunate cancelation, George Nash offered a double presentation, speaking first on recent fieldwork of the Trefael stone in south-west Wales. George importantly emphasized the connection between rock art and other forms of archaeology, in outlining the excavations and survey work undertaken around the monument. With finds of quartz around the site, George suggested how the stone changed its significance through time, from tomb to marker.

The discussion moved to the recent discovery of the engraved cervid in Cat Hole Cave on the Gower Coast in south Wales. In this talk George led us through the dating process of the rock art, offering the latest date for the image as 12,572± 600 to 14,505 ±558 BP. These dates were taken from Uranium series of the flowstone overlying part of the rock art figure. George presented the carving as an interesting example of a ‘different type of Palaeolithic’ where realism as a technique was less important than in other regions of Europe. The theme of the Palaeolithic was taken up again by Michael Eastham in the morning, who re-assessed the Upper Palaeolithic cave art of Les Chevaux Ponctués in southern France. Michael addressed the problem of distinguishing between a direct depiction and a symbol when studying figurative imagery.

In their discussion of the rock art in Cumbria, Kate Sharpe and Peter Style offered an exciting relative dating method, where the arrangement and composition of cupmarks and ring motifs may offer clues to unpicking possible sequences of rock art making. This talk was particularly relevant for researchers attempting to make sense of large clusters and tangles of rock art images.

Rebecca Enlander moved the focus to Northern Ireland, and examined how the geological type of rock may have been important in how people understood rock art. With detailed distributions of rock art in particular geological zones, Rebecca convincingly argued how the geology of the rock informed the various choices of motif. Rebecca’s research breaks new ground in exploring beyond the motif by examining the composition and possible significances of its medium.

Daniel Arsenault also moved the focus from the motif, by examining the use of red ochre in Quebec in the making of nonfigurative rock art. His study of patches and smears of red across the landscape offered an interesting case where the act of rock art making may have been important in interacting with the rock surface and the landscape. The circumpolar theme was continued in Mark Sapwell’s paper on Nämforsen in northern Sweden. He argued how the medium of an image may affects its use and understanding, by comparing elk rock art motifs in Sweden to those found on slate knives.

Tina Walking and Anna Khechoyan’s talk took us to Armenia, where many hundreds of rock art motifs are found in the caldera at Ughtasar in the Voroton Valley. Their discussion worked to interpret the proliferation of goat images at Ughtasar. With no possible use of informed methods, Tina and Anna made affective use of Robert Layton’s anthropological methods in suggesting the possible shamanic character of some rock art in the region.

Laurie Winch’s paper broadened the range of rock art regions further in her fascinating look into rock art practice at Khao Khian, Thailand. Laurie offered examples of rock art from prehistoric to contemporary periods and demonstrated how the treatment of animals and forms of subsistence were understood through the making of images.

Amanda Wintcher’s presentation followed a similar train of thought as Daniel’s in exploring amorphous rock art imagery in Murcia in south-western Spain. Her presentation offered a method of gauging whether the amorphous appearance of rock art images were due to erosion or intention, by comparing the overall context of each type of rock art image.

In his talk on both western Australian and Canadian rock art and researchers, Robert Layton’s contribution to the session was important in highlighting the possible variety of rock art and art making, even within a single community. Through ethnographic accounts, he explained that rather than representing a coherent tradition or mindset, rock art may be used in forms of clan ceremony, personal ritual and vision quests, all within the same region and period.

Aaron Mazel concluded the session with a talk on the possibility of pastoral rock art in the north of Kimberley, Western Australia. Aaron linked times of rock art innovation and intensity to periods of cultural stress, and suggested that very particular forms of rock art making, such as the use of the finger style, may have been due to a pastoral community moving through the landscape.

Aaron’s concluding remarks were important in emphasizing how the successes of many papers presented were thanks to work in combining rock imagery with other forms of archaeological evidence. With papers exploring geology, ethnography, landscape, and exploring links with other forms of artefact, the session was not only successful in its diversity, but also in demonstrating how contributive and relevant rock art can be in exploring the big issues and narratives of archaeology.

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Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

Cups and Rings and Other Things: an 80 th birthday tribute to Dr Stan Beckensall

‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘King of Rock’, and ‘Stan the man’ were just a few of the titles accorded to Dr Stan Beckensall by speakers gathered in his home town of Hexham in September. The event, organised secretly by Paul Frodsham and Aron Mazel, involved family, friends, and colleagues who came together for a public conference on rock art to celebrate the enormous contribution made by Stan to the study of carved stones over the last 50 years (see page 10).

The presentations took the 130-strong audience on a tour of rock art from Northumberland to Australia and from Ireland to West Yorkshire. The ‘Other Things’ included digital dancing figures from Italy, camels from Libya, and a very old Welsh reindeer. All the speakers reflected on the significant part Stan had played in inspiring their research, and paid tribute to his generosity, enthusiasm, and boundless energy. Stan’s love of verse was reflected in two poetic contributions which can be found along with photographs from the day on a dedicated Facebook website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/StanFest/368606793214627

The conference concluded with a presentation by Aron Mazel who awarded Stan the Old Bewick Order of Archaeological Recording, and the George Tate Medal for Rock Art Recording. A colourful birthday cake inspired by cup and ring motifs was made by Ann Macdonald.



by cup and ring motifs was made by Ann Macdonald. 3 1 2 4 5 6


by cup and ring motifs was made by Ann Macdonald. 3 1 2 4 5 6
by cup and ring motifs was made by Ann Macdonald. 3 1 2 4 5 6


by cup and ring motifs was made by Ann Macdonald. 3 1 2 4 5 6


by cup and ring motifs was made by Ann Macdonald. 3 1 2 4 5 6


cup and ring motifs was made by Ann Macdonald. 3 1 2 4 5 6 7


and ring motifs was made by Ann Macdonald. 3 1 2 4 5 6 7 Photos


1. “We’ve organized a surprise conference for your birthday!”; 2. Stan receives his awards; 3. & 4. The awards; 5. The cup and ring birthday cake; 6. Cutting the cake: Aron, Stan and Paul; 7. The speakers. Back row: Clive Waddington, Elizabeth Shee Twohig, Keith Boughey, Stan Beckensall, Chris Chippendale, Paul Brown, Tertia Barnett, Kate Sharpe, George Nash, Robert Layton. Front row: Aron Mazel, Paul Frodsham.

Photo credits: Marc Johnstone (1, 2, 6, 7) and Aron Mazel (3, 4, 5).

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Lord of the Rings

Stan became interested in archaeology whilst teaching in Sussex, and was further inspired by rock carvings whilst teaching abroad in Malta. In the 1960s he returned to Britain, working at the teacher training college in Alnwick. A visit to the rock art panel of Old Bewick 1a sparked a lifelong interest that led him to cover hundreds of miles locating and recording prehistoric rock carvings in Northumberland, Durham, Cumbria, North Yorkshire and parts of Scotland and Ireland. Much of Stan’s work has focussed on Northumberland, which contains the largest concentration of rock art in Britain, much of it discovered by him, including the 60 decorated portable stones and five decorated kerbstones recovered during his excavations of the cairns at Fowberry and Weetwood.

Often working alone, in remote and often difficult terrain, Stan persevered with his research which, at the time was regarded by most academic archaeologists as a ‘fringe’ subject. Over the years, the value of rock art has become more apparent, with Stan playing no small part in the transformation, inspiring and influencing students, academics, and heritage managers. His records include rubbings, drawings, photographs, location information, and descriptive commentary - the largest and most detailed personal regional rock art archive in Britain. Supporting this record are his many publications in which he has shared his passion and knowledge of Northumberland rock art.

In 2002, Stan donated his Northumberland rock art archive to the University of Newcastle. Funds obtained through an AHRB Resource Enhancement Grant have enabled the archive to be made widely available through his website, rockart.ncl. ac.uk, launched in 2005. Stan’s work was formally recognised in 2004 when he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne for his contribution to the study of British rock art. In 2006, his website was awarded the Channel Four television ICT British Archaeological Award.

Beckensall Rock Art (and related) Bibliography*

The Prehistoric Carved Rocks of Northumberland (1974)

Life and Death in Prehistoric Northumberland (1976)

Northumberland's Prehistoric Rock Carvings (1983)

Rock Carvings of Northern Britain (August 1986)

Prehistoric Motifs of Northumberland Vol. 1 (1991)

Prehistoric Motifs of Northumberland Vol. 2 (1992)

Cumbrian Prehistoric Rock Art (1992)

Life and Death in the Prehistoric North (1994)

Prehistoric Rock Art of County Durham, Swaledale and Wenselydale (1998)

Prehistoric Rock Art in Northumberland (Oct 2001)

British Prehistoric Rock Art (Aug 2002)

Prehistoric Rock Art in Cumbria (Jun 2002)

Prehistoric Northumberland (Mar 2003)

The Prehistoric Rock Art of Kilmartin (2005)

Circles in Stone: a British Prehistoric Mystery (Oct 2006)

Prehistoric Rock Art in Britain (2008)

Northumberland’s Hidden History (2009)

* Not exhaustive!

Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

History (2009) * Not exhaustive! Issue No 8: Autumn 2012 'People on the outside know Stan

'People on the outside know Stan for all the talks he goes round giving to history societies, but they don’t realise what an important contribution he has made to academic research’ Paul Frodsham, 2012

he has made to academic research’ Paul Frodsham, 2012 'Stan Beckensall has been one of the

'Stan Beckensall has been one of the most patient and thorough recorders of British rock art, and his eye for the details of the individual carvings is as keen as his grasp of the countryside as a whole.' Richard Bradley, 1992.

of the countryside as a whole.' Richard Bradley, 1992. Read more about Stan:

Read more about Stan: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/era/section/record_manage/rm_projects_beckensall_home.jsf

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Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

DATES for your DIARY: Forthcoming Conferences and Events

If you have an event you would like to publicise here please send me the details.

21st October

Archaeology in the Lake District 2012 (organised by the National Park), Keswick. Held at the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick. Fee: £12.50 (£18.25 including lunch). Parking voucher £2.00. Includes presentation by Peter Style (UCLAN): “Of Lions, Lambs, and Sleeping Sheep: Prehistoric Mountain Monuments and Rock Art in the Cumbrian Fells.” For details and booking forms see:


5 th November

Movement and mobility in the Neolithic. Neolithic Studies Group Autumn Meeting

To be held in the Stevenson lecture Theatre, the British Museum, London from 10.30am to 4.55pm. Fee:

£10. For full details and booking form see:



mn-meeting-2012-movement-and-mobility-in-the- neolithic 10 t h -11 t h November Scotland's Community

10 th -11 th November

Scotland's Community Heritage Conference 2012 A weekend of talks, workshops and displays and the chance to meet like-minded people. Learn about active community archaeology projects such as those on Mull and North Uist; hear about architecture and designed landscape projects in Wanlockhead and Kingussie and find out about the work of volunteers in NTS Thistle Camps and in recording Perthshire's graveyards. Join guided walks on Sunday 11th to chat and network with fellow heritage enthusiasts and see the local sites. PayPal booking is available or you can download the booking form from the website. Prices are £15 per person (this includes lunch). For full details see: www.archaeologyscotland.org.uk/?q=node/2774 Phone: 0845 872 3333

10 th November

Archaeology in York Conference One-day conference will allow delegates to learn about some of the archaeological work that has been carried out in York during 2012. The subjects covered are diverse, from prehistoric landscapes to the railways in the 19th and 20th centuries. The conference is aimed at full-time archaeologists, members of community archaeology groups and history societies, students and members of the public who are interested in the heritage of this special city. Fee is £15. This includes tea, coffee and biscuits on arrival and in the afternoon and delegate pack. Lunch is not provided. For full details contact John Oxley at archaeology@york.gov.uk or phone 01904 551346.

21st November

Archaeology Day School

The West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service is holding its thirteenth annual Archaeological Day School, returning to the spectacular venue of the Royal Armouries, Leeds. Representatives from WYAS will bring delegates up to date with the results of recent archaeological work in West Yorkshire, covering historic buildings, industrial archaeology and other excavations and fieldwork. The afternoon programme will cover recent work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme's West & South Yorkshire Finds Liaison Officer and work undertaken by Pontefract and District Archaeological Society on St Richard's Dominican Friary excavations. Back by popular demand is potter John Hudson, with an entertaining demonstration on historic pottery making. You can also register and buy tickets online by visiting the West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service website: www.archaeology.wyjs.org.uk

20 th April 2013

British Rock Art Group, Queens University, Belfast.

BRAG goes to Belfast next year (see page 13). Email for information is brag2013@gmail.com

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Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

ROCK ART READS: New and Forthcoming Publications

2012 ROCK ART READS: New and Forthcoming Publications Visualising the Neolithic (Neolithic Studies Grou p Seminar

Visualising the Neolithic (Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 13) edited by

Andrew Cochrane and Andrew Meirion Jones.

From Oxbow: Prehistoric imagery is enigmatic and has been largely overlooked by archaeologists; it is only in the last two decades that it has garnered serious academic attention. This volume addresses this lacuna and discusses visual expression across Neolithic Europe. The papers in this volume result from a meeting of the Neolithic Studies Group on the topic of 'Neolithic visual culture' at the British Museum in November 2010. The volume is organised so that the rock art and passage tomb art traditions of the Neolithic in Britain and Ireland are compared for the first time to the rock art traditions of Northern and Southern Europe, with the mortuary costumes and figurines of South- eastern Europe.

ISBN-10: 1842174770 ISBN-13: 978-1842174777; 304 p (Oxbow Books). Paperback. Price GB £35.00


Price GB £35.00 www.oxbowbooks.com/bookinfo.cfm/ID/92306 The Levantine Question: Po st-Palaeolithic Rock Art in the

The Levantine Question: Post-Palaeolithic Rock Art in the Iberian Peninsula

edited by Jose Julio Garcia Arranz, Hipolito Collado Giraldo and George Nash.

From Oxbow: This volume gathers many of the world's leading experts to reassess the enigmatic assemblage of Spanish Levantine rock art. Issues addressed include the controversial matter of chronology, how the rock art may have been integrated into the landscape, and questions relating to the type of panel or application techniques used. Parallel English and Spanish text.

ISBN-13: 978-963-9911-31-4 ISBN-10: 963-9911-31-3; 425p b/w and col illus (Archaeolingua 2012) Hardback. Price GB £74.00



This issue’s inspiration comes not from rock art, but from Stan Beckensall! This is Clive Waddington’s tribute to Stan, presented at the Conference in Hexham (see page 9). For more rock art poetry visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/StanFest/368606793214627

If you have created something rock art related and would like to share it with Rock Articles readers, drop me a line at


‘Stan on Stone’ by Clive Waddington A rare auld lad lives down the street Treads
‘Stan on Stone’ by Clive Waddington
A rare auld lad lives down the street
Treads moor and mountain with his feet
Spying stony symbols for us all to see
Through rubbings, photos and poetry
A teacher, writer and playwright he
Through wit and art makes newsprint see
His discoveries, descriptions, and photography
Have left inspired for generations a legacy
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Issue No 8: Autumn 2012

Issue No 8: Autumn 2012 - 13 -

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