In March Aron Mazel was invited to share experience and findings from his work on Northumberland rock art with international colleagues at ‘The First International Conference on Rock Art in the Negev Desert and Beyond’ (27 – 28 March, 2014) in Sde Boker, Israel.
Organised to coincide with the inauguration of the new Negev Rock Art Center this superbly organised and interesting conference included speakers from 11 different countries who deal with rock art, its management and interpretation, in the Negev and in surrounding countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Oman, Egypt and Jordan. Aron’s presentation ‘On the ground and on the web: interpreting Northumberland rock art for the public since 2002’ dealt primarily with Aron’s work on the Beckensall website and Rock Art on Mobile Phones (RAMP) projects and the insights and lessons that have been gained from this research. Interpretation was a highly relevant issue for the conference as the Negev Rock Art Center is in the process of creating a rock art park, which will involve interpreting rock art for the public.
During and after the conference the participants were shown some of the rock art that will form part of the park. They had the opportunity to interact with representatives of the local Bedouin community to exchange thoughts and feelings about the creation of the park, with particular reference to the economic benefits through tourism, and the different approaches that should be taken to its management and interpretation.