COMPLEX meeting in Vienna

The Complex Project on transitions to a low carbon economy held a meeting at Laxenberg, near Vienna, hosted by its partners at IIASA (the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis). In the course of the meeting, Nick Winder (Principal Research Associate at ICCHS and co-ordinator of the COMPLEX project) was interviewed by Uno Svedin (Stockholm University) about the project, the challenges it will address and one of its case-study regions, the Mãler Dahlen in Sweden.

In the interview Nick Winder explains how cultural and natural life-support systems shape our responses to global climate change, and discusses the potential impact of the creation of a low carbon society on our local cultural landscapes. 

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Rock Art CARE Project Donegal Fieldwork

The project team.

The project team (left to right): A. Mazel, P. Lewis, P, Warke, M, Giesen, R. Enlander.

The Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art project completed its third and final data collection exercise in early September. The team included Dr Aron Mazel, Dr Myra Giesen and Peter Lewis from Newcastle University with Dr Patricia Warke and Dr Rebecca Enlander from Queen’s University Belfast.

The team visited several rock art sites in Donegal, Ireland, to gather further scientific data on the contributing factors to rock art decay. Twenty four panels were analysed in a variety of conditions, some almost perfect but others were very eroded. This was very helpful in providing a variety of data that can be used to analyse the factors affecting rock art condition. Despite very high concentrations of rock art, especially in an area called Doagh Island, all the sites were on private land and not signposted or easily accessible.

Donegal rock art.

Example of rock art in an excellent condition.

As usual soil samples were taken at each site but unfortunately, and not for the first time, the XRF machine broke down so it was impossible to analyse the rock composition. This will now be done at a later date. 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.

With the data collected for the Donegal sites, the fieldwork element of the project is now complete. The next phase of the project will focus on continuing with consultations over the toolkit and management guide with a view to disseminating the final products in January 2014.

Find out more about the CARE project and the forthcoming toolkit and management guide visit http://research.ncl.ac.uk/heritagescience/

To join a wider discussion about rock art and rock art sites visit the Rock Art of the UK and Ireland page on Facebook.

Rock Art CARE Project Dumfries and Galloway Fieldwork

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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.

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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.

New website for Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art

A new website has been launched for the “Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art project” so please do have a look:

Http://research.ncl.ac.uk/heritagescience

rock art website

This website will bring together all the resources produced by the project and provide a focal point for information and contacts. It will also be a place to keep up with the latest news and developments.

There is also a useful background, and links, on further other work that has brought the disciplines of heritage and science together, including the Science and Heritage Programme.

The project aims to involve heritage professionals, landowners, rock art enthusiasts and other interested people in the production of resources to aid the protection of open-air rock art. This website will help to link these groups into the project. If you know of any potential contacts please let us know.

Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art

ICCHS has begun an exciting new project focussing on developing materials and research that will aid in the protection of delicate rock art in Northumberland and beyond.

Open air rock art is an iconic part of the UK’s prehistoric heritage, with 3500 panels still in existence that date from between 6000 and 3800 years ago. It is a common misconception that as this work has existing for so long it does not require conservation approaches.

Scientific appraisal of rock art in Northumberland has highlighted that due to factors such as climate change and local environmental conditions rock art has deteriorated at a faster rate in the last 50 years than in any of the preceding 6000. Further research will be undertaken through this project in order to add to this scientific understanding.

It is vital that a joint approach between heritage and science be undertaken in order to ensure rock art is not lost. CARE aims to co-produce a user-friendly tool kit for the use of specialists and non specialists alike to gather information essential for the long term preservation of open air rock art. This will be achieved through disseminating the results through publications and as well as creating a “how to guide” for individuals who have panel care responsibilities. This work will be a co-production with these stakeholders through utilising focus groups and pilot studies.

This project is collaboration between ICCHS and the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences from Newcastle University and the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s University Belfast. The project will be managed by Myra Giesen, with Peter Lewis joining her as a Research Assistant. Peter graduated from ICCHS in 2009 with an MA in Heritage Management and has since worked as a Project Manager on a variety of community based projects.