ERA Database: Frequently Asked Questions
These questions relate specifically to the ERA database
For answers to more general queries about English rock art please visit the Learn More section of the website.
For more information on the recording, management and conservation of rock art see the Record & Manage section.
Can I use and copy the photographs and information on the website? [top]
You can use and copy the images and information for no fee provided they are used solely for non-commercial purposes and are not modified or revised in any manner and plainly display all copyright and other proprietary notices, in the same form and manner as on the original. Please visit our Terms and Conditions of Use statement for further information.
Where does the information used on the website come from? [top]
The bulk of the information in the ERA database comes from the following sources:
The NADRAP Project. This dataset covers Northumberland and Durham and was collected by trained volunteers participating in the project between 2004 and 2008. Over 1500 panels were recorded using a standardised form, with digital photographs and 3-dimensional models.
Find out more...
The Beckensall Archive. This dataset includes two main sources: (i) Stan Beckensall's Northumberland rock art archive and (ii) information collected for the AHRB funded Northumberland rock art project (2002-2004).
Find out more...
The CSIRM Project. This dataset covers the Rombalds Moor area of West Yorkshire and was collected by trained volunteers participating in the project between 2010 and 2013. Around 500 panels were recorded using a standardised form, digital photographs, and 3-dimensional models. Photographs from the Ilkley Archaeology Group have also been digitised and included in the database. Find out more...
How accurate are the grid references and altitude readings? [top]
Where coordinates and altitude readings are given (See Location page of Results Display), there will also be an indication of how they were obtained. Most were taken from navigation-grade GPS devices, but some may be estimated from OS maps. It should be noted that GPS readings, although being more accurate than those obtained from maps, might still hold a degree of inaccuracy, especially where rock art panels are situated within woodland. For technical reasons the location of panels indicated on the Google maps can only be plotted within 100 metres, and is provided as a guide only. The project does not guarantee that the readings are correct, and cannot accept responsibility for any inconvenience or loss caused as a result of using our data.
Why categorise and quantify the motifs represented on the different panels? [top]
The motifs have been categorised and quantified to serve as a quick and accessible guide to the different types of motifs that are represented on the individual panels and in different areas. It should be noted, however, that the assigning of motifs into distinct categories is not a clear cut exercise. Should you wish to investigate the spatial relationships and distributions of motifs in greater depth (than is possible through the motifs categorisation system provided on the website) this can be done by examining the drawings, photographs and models for the different panels and establishing your own comparative schematic frameworks.
Why are there differences between some of the motifs recorded by the NADRAP Project those in the Beckensall Archive? [top]
The exact nature of the motifs identified may differ with separate recording projects. The Beckensall Archive motif categorisation is based on drawings - some made a number of years ago, whereas the NADRAP recordings reflect motifs visible in the field at the time of recording between 2005 and 2008. The effects of weathering, of human and animal impacts and especially the presence of biological growths such as lichen, moss or turf may have resulted in motifs becoming obscured or, in some cases, revealed. Changes in lighting may also affect what is visible. Recent research also suggests that prehistoric people may have incorporated natural features into their carvings, sometimes enhancing them. This means that in many cases it is difficult to determine whether some features are natural or human made, and some subjectivity may be reflected in the assessments made. Photogrammetry models now provide the most accurate record of the panel, but some details may have been lost over time; historical drawings therefore provide a valuable snapshot.
Why have you included so many photographs on the website? [top]
We have included so many photographs to give you a virtual visual appreciation of the rock carvings. The photographs give users an appreciation of the panels in their surrounding environment. For some of the panels you will be able to see how the landscape and vegetation have changed. A good example of this is Buttony 4 and 5, where you will be able to see how the plantation surrounding the panels has substantially altered the sense of the place. The inclusion of many photographs will also enable you to see how the carvings look at different times of the year and in different weather and light conditions. Rapid advances in 3D modelling techniques mean that additional information may be obtained using this imagery in the future.
Can I visit the panels featured on the website? [top]
Inclusion of a rock art panel on the ERA database does not mean right of public access. Information about access to the rock art panels is provided in the database. The Nature of Access field was based on the provisional maps published by the Countryside Agency who prepared maps of all open country and registered common land in England as part of their statutory duty under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000. This Act creates new rights to walk on 'access land'. The Countryside Agency was succeeded on 2 October 2006 by Natural England. Please check their website for information about the nature of access to rock art panels and areas detailed in the ERA database. Permission to access panels identified as being on private land should be sought from the landowner.
Can I add a new panel to ERA? [top]
If you have found a panel in an area currently covered by ERA (see Coverage) which you believe is not already on the database and you want to add this to ERA, you can create a new record using the electronic ERA recording form. The recording form and comprehensive guidance on how to use it are available on the ERA website (see Guidelines for Recording Rock Art). The recording form will help you to gather all the information required for the database. To add your record to the database you will need to obtain a password from the Local Authority Archaeologist for the area in question, who will validate your record before it is uploaded. If you are planning a more extensive recording project in an area not yet covered by ERA, please also contact the Archaeology Data Service for advice.