Breaking through rock art recording: three dimensional laser scanning of megalithic rock art

The project Breaking through rock art recording was led by Dr Diaz-Andreu(Durham University). It aims to test the novel technique of 3D laser scanning for the recording of prehistoric rock carvings. The main objectives were to assess the reliability, accuracy and precision of this technique for recording purposes and to evaluate its capacity to discover new carved motifs invisible to the naked eye. Specifically, our point of departure was that a 3D laser scan of prehistoric carvings may: Determine techniques and tools used to create petroglyphs; Distinguish natural from artificial markings; Discern prehistoric art from modern graffiti; and Detect superimposition (and hence phases of art). In addition, the project assessed the potential of the technology for monitoring rock surface decay, and examined its value as a visualisation and presentation tool. The study was undertaken at two stone circles in Cumbria which exhibit megalithic art: Castlerigg and Long Meg and Her Daughters, on the Copt Howe panel also in Cumbria, and the Horseshoe Rock in Northumberland. These were chosen because they had known carvings, some only recently found and some - so we thought - perhaps unknown as yet, and offered specific opportunities to test the technique. As megalithic sites they also offered greater context than art found in the landscape and provided for a novel investigative approach. The data presented on the website includes 3D images and interactive 3D animations of the rocks produced by processing laser scanned data.

arts-humanities.net

Principal investigator
Dr Margarita Diaz-Andreu
Principal project staff
Dr Margarita Diaz-Andreu
Start date
Thursday, April 1, 2004
Completion date
Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Place
Source material
The study was undertaken at two stone circles in Cumbria which exhibit megalithic art: Castlerigg and Long Meg and Her Daughters, on the Copt Howe panel also in Cumbria, and the Horseshoe Rock in Northumberland.
Publications

Barnett, T., Chalmers, A., Díaz-Andreu, M., Ellis, G., Longhurst, P., Sharpe, K. and Trinks, I. 2005. 3D Laser Scanning For Recording and Monitoring Rock Art Erosion. International Newsletter on Rock Art (INORA) 41: 25-29.

Díaz-Andreu, M., Hobbs, R., Rosser, N., Sharpe, K. and Trinks, I. 2005. Long Meg: Rock Art Recording Using 3D Laser Scanning. Past 50: 2-6.

Trinks, I., Díaz-Andreu, M., Hobbs, R. and Sharpe, K. 2005. Digital rock art recording: visualising petroglyphs using 3D laser scanner data. Rock Art Research 22: 131-9.

Díaz-Andreu, M., Brooke, C., Rainsbury, M. and Rosser, N. 2006. The Spiral that Vanished: The Application of Non-Contact Recording Techniques to an Elusive Rock Art Motif at Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria. Journal of Archaeological Science 33: 1580-1587.