Rock Art CARE Project Dumfries and Galloway Fieldwork


The project team at High Banks; left to right, P. Warke, M. Giesen, P. Lewis and A. Mazel

The Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art project completed its second data collection exercise in mid-July. The team included Dr Aron Mazel, Dr Myra Giesen and Peter Lewis from Newcastle University and Dr Patricia Warke from Queen’s University Belfast.

The team visited several rock art sites in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland to gather further scientific data on the contributing factors to rock art decay. Soil samples were taken and an XRF machine used to analyse the rock composition. These will be analysed at Queen’s University Belfast. The findings, along with the written recordings of risk factors at the panels, will help to further shape the tool kit and management guide that aim to help protect rock art.


This shield motif at High Banks is stunning and probably unique in the whole of the UK, yet there are no protective measures in place. Cattle are clearly trampling over the panel with other potential damage from such as significant moss growth

Nearly thirty panels were analysed in Dumfries and Galloway with most being in a poor condition. Some of the risks identified to these panels were significant, including cattle roaming over the rocks and even cattle feeders placed on or adjacent to panels. None of the team had been to the majority of the panels and it was felt that many lessons were learnt here, even above what the team expected before starting.

The next fieldwork carried out by the team will be in Ireland in early September.