Fieldwork module: Prehistoric rock art
Arguably the most enigmatic archaeological sites in the region, the panels of ‘cup-and-ring’ rock art that litter some upland landscapes have been recorded over recent years by teams of volunteers, but remain poorly understood in terms of chronology and function. Most archaeologists that study them agree that the symbols must be linked in some way with the ‘religion’ of the people that made them, but trying to understand aspects of Neolithic ‘religion’ as distinct from other aspects of contemporary life, is fraught with difficulty. The North East Regional Research Framework and numerous recent publications stress the need to study our rock art within its landscape context, and move on from survey to carefully targeted small-scale excavation. The challenge is to find well-recorded landscapes presenting opportunities to undertake small-scale excavations of rock art in context, offering a good chance of new and important information relating to chronology and function.