Northern Rocks; PROJECT CREATES IMAGES OF PREHISTORIC CARVINGS FOR THE WEB

Article excerpt

Byline: By AMY HUNT

CARVED drawings by prehistoric artists found in the North East have been published online for the first time.

More than 100 new examples of prehistoric art have been found scratched into rocks throughout Northumberland and Durham over the last four years.

The 5,000-year-old Neolithic carvings, which show concentric circles, interlocking rings and hollowed cups were uncovered as part of a project to record and publish all the region's prehistoric rock art.

Hi-tech 3D images of the rock carvings, one of history's great unsolved mysteries, are now available for people to view from all sides on their computers.

It is hoped the success of the Northumberland and Durham Rock Art Project will see the idea rolled out around the rest of the UK.

English Heritage funded the programme, in partnership with Northumberland and Durham County Councils, to see the ancient drawings published on the website England's Rock Art.

More than 100 specially trained volunteers surveyed, photographed and discovered rock panels in the North East, creating 3D computer models of much of the rock art.

Andy Curtis, from Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland, was one of the volunteers who took part in the survey. He said: "There's so little known about the Neolithic Period and we don't know what the carvings are all about, why they were made, or the reason for the symbols.

"There are lots of theories about why the rock art might have been done. Some people think they are maps of settlements or hill forts. …

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