ERA Database Help
About the Data [top]
The ERA database incorporates data from several sources, the majority of records being created by trained volunteers participating in regional projects. Additional records (e.g. new discoveries) may also have been added by individual contributors, however to avoid complication and duplication, single records can only be added to the database for counties for which the bulk of the data has been added following a formal project.
The database also incorporates material including text, drawings, and photographs from historical datasets. These are acknowledged as far as possible. Whilst efforts have been made to integrate these sources, there are some fields where they differ. Direct links to other databases (e.g. The Beckensall Archive) are also provided, however the ERA Administrators cannot be responsible for the maintenance or content of these databases.
All ERA records have been validated for inclusion either by the Project Officers (for organised projects) or, in the case of individual contributions, by a designated Database Administrator (e.g. local HER Officer). This does not mean that all the panels recorded have been unequivocally confirmed to be prehistoric rock art; text notes in individual records should reflect an informed opinion. The Database Administrator also has the ability to amend records to reflect changes or new knowledge (e.g. relating to location or condition). In this case, a new version of the record is created, providing a historical record.
More Details by County
Counties listed here have been the subject of a major recording project and are now included on ERA. Note: where the full extent of the county has not been surveyed this is indicated. Other areas of England may have rock art recorded but are not currently represented on ERA. See Coverage for a map of rock art in Britain and Ireland, and areas covered by ERA.
- County Durham
- Tyne & Wear
- West Yorkshire (Rombalds Moor area only)
The baseline records for rock art in County Durham were all created by the NADRAP volunteers between 2004 and 2008.
For rock art in Northumberland, the ERA database provides access to baseline data and visual media collected by the Northumberland and Durham Rock Art Project (NADRAP) volunteers between 2004 and 2008, and also to records and images from the Beckensall Archive, collected by Stan Beckensall and Aron Mazel. A significant period may have elapsed between the collection of these two sets of data, and records of the same panel may differ due to erosion or cover with vegetation; some may have been destroyed or lost. 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. 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. The availability of two records of different dates provides a unique opportunity to observe how panels may have changed over time.
Tyne & Wear
West Yorkshire (Rombalds Moor only)
A specific area of West Yorkshire around Rombalds Moor was the subject of a volunteer survey undertaken between 2010 and 2013 during the Carved Stone Investigations: Rombalds Moor (CSIRM) Project [internal link]. The CSIRM survey was based largely on previous work carried out by the Ilkley Archaeology Group (IAG), and the database includes photographs from the IAG archive which were digitised during the project. In some cases over 30 years have elapsed since the original records were created so that interesting comparisons can be made regarding the effects of weathering and vegetation.
Panel names and numbers [top]
Northumberland and Durham
For panels in Northumberland and Durham the naming convention established by Beckensall was followed as much as possible. Users should take care with Panel Name searches as the general name for the location may not occur at the beginning of the Panel Name, eg panels at Lordenshaw may be listed as North Lordenshaw or East Lordenshaw, etc. Newly discovered panels were given the supplement N0n where n is a sequential number, eg Chirnells Moor N01 and Chirnalls Moor N02.
For County Durham records, Beckensall Archive data was unavailable, and panels were named after the area named on the Ordnance Survey map, and in the order in which they were recorded e.g. Barningham Moor 3, The Rigg 2.
West Yorkshire (Rombalds Moor)
The panel names for this area are standardised according to the following conventions:
- Panels are named after the area in which they are located, as labelled on Ordnance Survey maps, e.g. Green Crag Slack, Pancake Ridge, Rivock, with numbering working from west to east. For example, Rivock 01 is the furthest west in that area and Rivock 02 the next to the east, irrespective of the distance north or south.
- Although this system works well in most areas, the boundaries between some names on the map are unclear, eg around the Green Crag and Green Crag Slack areas on Ilkley Moor. In this case a best guess was made.
When new discoveries were made after project work had been completed, supplemental letters such as Glovershaw Farm 01a, 01b etc. were used.
- On a few occasions (e.g. Lanshaw Delves 06) the naming convention was not followed as this would have required re-naming a whole series of carvings including maps and imagery.
- To aid identification on Location Maps, each panel was given a shorthand reference, e.g. LP01-LP31 for Low Plain 01 – 31. These IDs have been used within Location Notes and Panel Notes in the database records.
- Panels with commonly used names are named in accordance with the OS maps. In most cases (e.g. Pancake Stone, Swastika Stone) the name in common use appears on the maps, however some of the most well-known panels such as The Haystack and Planets Rock are not named on OS maps and are therefore named after the area in which they are located. For example, Planets Rock is Pancake Ridge 01 and The Haystack is Pancake Ridge 05. The common names were also added to the database records in the 'Other names' field.
Searching the Database [top]
There are a number of ways to find records in the database:
Quick Search [top]
The Quick Search box can be found in the upper right corner of the ERA Home page. You can type a term directly into the box to perform a 'Keyword' search or, if you move your cursor over the box the Browse options will become available.
Your search will return a Results List.
The Browse option provides a quick and easy way to access broad categories of records within the database. It is available from the ERA Home page when you move your cursor over the Quick Search box, and also from the left hand menu in the Access ERA section of the website.
A number of browse categories are available. Select the category of interest and drill down the hierarchical groups to find a selection of interest.
For example, if you select Current Location, then the following path may be followed:
When you select a term with a magnifying glass symbol the database will be searched for records matching this criteria and a Results List will be returned.
Basic Search [top]
The Basic Search provides a rapid way to carry out simple searches for records which match your criteria for selected fields, e.g. Panel Name, Panel Type, Current Location, Keyword.
Select Basic Search from the left hand menu in the Access ERA section.
For most fields you should select your search terms from the drop-down lists provided.
For Panel Name, Grid Reference and Keyword you may enter text directly.
As you begin to enter text, a list of options will appear on the left of the screen to help you identify specific Panel Names on the database. The can be selected at any point by clicking on the name of interest.
Note: only one full panel name can be searched using the Basic Search Form. To search on multiple panel names you should use the Advanced Search. It is possible to widen searches by using just the stem of the Panel name. E,g. a search for ‘weetwood’ will return records for ‘Weetwood Bridge portable’, ‘Weetwood Cairn’, ‘Weetwood Clavering’ etc.
For clusters of panels with the same Panel Name but different numerical references, e.g. Barningham Moor 1, Barningham Moor 2, the omission of the specific panel number will result in the retrieval of all panels in the group. E.g. a search for ‘Weetwood Moor ‘ will retrieve ‘Weetwood Moor 1a‘,‘Weetwood Moor 1b‘,‘Weetwood Moor 1c‘ etc. It is recommended that you only use the numerical reference where you are certain of the number and format.
The Keyword search looks for your term(s) in an index created from all the ‘free text’ fields in the database, including the Panel Name and all the ‘Notes’ fields (for panels in Northumberland this includes the Beckensall Notes fields)
To carry out a Keyword search, type your term or terms in either upper or lower case.
You can search for multiple terms, separated by either a comma or a space. By default, ERA returns records that include ALL of your search terms in any order. E.g. weetwood,cairn will return records where both terms appear in any of the fields listed above. To widen your search, select the ANY toggle. This will return records where any of your terms appear. To narrow your search, select the EXACT toggle. This will return only records where all of your terms appear in the specified order.
Details of search retrieval rules
The ANY and ALL options apply the following retrieval rules:
Word variations - stem searching
When appropriate, ERA it will search not only for your search terms, but also for words that are similar to or derived from those terms. If you search for kerb, ERA will also search for kerbstone, but in addition a search for turf would also include the plural form, turves.
ERA will return records which match only prefix or suffix of a given term. For example, a search for bracken will return records containing the wordsbracken, Brackenheads, Bracken Rigg, etc. and a search for wood will return records containing the words wood, Scrainwood, woodlands, etc.
Wildcards are automatically added to the beginning and end of each search term to ensure that records are retrieved if the term appears within any of the whole terms in the ERA index.
Click the Search button to retrieve records. If any records match your search criteria a Results List will be presented. The default order for results is alphabetically by Panel Name. If you wish to sort your results in a different way, use the Sort Results menu on the Search Form to specify the field to be sorted.
If no records match then you may wish to consider broadening your search. Use your browser ‘Back’ button to return to the Search Form. Click the Clear button at the bottom of the form to clear all the fields, or modify those of your choice.
If a large number of records are retrieved you may wish to narrow your search, or consider using the Advanced Search to specify additional criteria.
Advanced Search [top]
The Advanced Search Form is designed to allow highly specific interrogation of the database on a wide range of fields.
Select Advanced Search from the left hand menu in the Access ERA section.
You will be presented with a Search Form comprised of the following sections:
- Panel Details
- Panel Art Motif
Click any heading to move directly to a section of interest or use the scroll bar to browse all the sections. Searches may be performed for just one section, or search terms can be combined across sections. Clicking any of the 'SEARCH' buttons will perform a search based on the combined selections from each category and clicking any of the 'CLEAR FORM' buttons will reset the entire form.
See Basic Search for information on search syntax.'
Panel Art Motif
In the Panel Art Motif section, simply click on the motifs to be included. The search will return records where any of the specified motifs are present.
For panels in Northumberland the search is based on NADRAP data only and does not refer to the Beckensall Archive motifs.
Map Search [top]
The Map Search allows you to use Google mapping to identify a search area, or to view the location of all rock art panels in the database.
Select Map Search from the left hand menu in the Access ERA section.
To specify your search area either:
- Draw a rectangular bounding box on the map using your mouse with the SHIFT key held down (or specific the corner co-ordinates)
- Create a circular area using your mouse with the CTRL held down (or specify the central point and the extent of the search radius).
The Google Map can be expanded by selecting expand map to the right of the display, and can be manipulated using the controls in the top left corner. Alternative base maps are available from the menu to the right. Results can be sorted by distance from the centre of your search area, in either ascending (Asc) or descending (Dsc) order.
Google Map accuracy [top]
The majority of panels were recorded to 1 metre square. However, the accuracy of Google Map data cannot be guaranteed.
The Results List [top]
If records within the database match your specified criteria they will be retrieved and presented as a list, in Panel Name order unless otherwise specified in the Basic or Advanced Search Form. Note: The Panel Number is not sorted.
A maximum of ten records will be shown per page. If more than one page of results is retrieved use the next page and previous page buttons to move between them.
The Results List includes the Panel Name, the Location (County, District and Parish), the Panel Type, and the rock art motifs recorded. For panels in Northumberland the motifs recorded by NADRAP and by the Beckensall Archive are shown.
Click on the Panel Name to view the full Results Display for any panel.
Maps on the Results List page [top]
The map on the Results List page shows the area covering the 10 panels included in one page of your returned dataset, and will change as you move through the pages of your list. It does not cover all the panels which match your search criteria. The maps show all panels in the database as yellow dots, with those matching your requirements as blue dots. Left click on these blue panels to see the Panel Name and go directly to the full record.
Exporting data [top]
It is possible to export your results as an xml, csv or kml file by selecting the ‘export’ link at the top right of the Results List. Depending on the size of the results list, this may take a few seconds to generate the download file. Once it is complete, right-click on the ‘download’ link and use ‘Save Target As’ to save the file to your PC.
The Results Display
The Results Display defaults to the General view. Additional details can be accessed by selecting from the left-hand menu or by clicking on any of the ‘more details’ links on the General view.
The General page provides an overview of the panel including information about its location, and general notes. For panels in Northumberland these Notes are drawn from NADRAP records and from the Beckensall Archive.
The Location provides a more detailed account of the location of the panel, including the type of landscape in which it lies. A Google map is provided to show the location. Use the controls to zoom in and out, or to change the base map view. For details of each field see Field Definitions.
For most panels a Location Sketch is also provided. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the image. This sketch is not intended to be an accurate representation, but rather to help with identification of the panel in the field by showing its relationship to other rock art panels, and to other nearby features, old and modern.
For details of each field see Field Definitions.
The Details page includes data specific to the rock art panel including its dimensions, geology and the nature of the carvings. For details of each field see Field Definitions.
The exact nature of the motifs identified may differ with separate recording projects for a number of reasons (see About the Data).Research 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.
The condition of rock art, and the nature of threats to its survival, can change rapidly with alterations to either the local environment, the use of the land, or the accessibility of the panel. NADRAP assessments were made during the period 2005 - 2008; CSIRM assessments were made between 2010 and 2013. The Beckensall Archive provides a historic snapshot of the condition of panels in Northumberland over an extended period and is therefore included to provide a comparison, although the data is not directly comparable with that collected by the NADRAP Project.
For each panel, a number of factors were assessed to determine both the current condition and potential risks to the panel. The factors were grouped into three categories as shown:
|CONDITION ASSESSMENT||RISK ASSESSMENT|
|Chemical and physical erosion||Chemical and physical threats|
|Biological coverage||Biological threats|
|Human and animal impacts||Human and animal threats|
The table shows the various different factors assessed within each category.
|CONDITION ASSESSMENT||RISK ASSESSMENT|
|Chemical and physical erosion||Chemical and physical threats|
|Differential erosion (channels/hollows)||Water flow|
|Cratering/pitting ||Water pooling|
|Planar erosion (scaling/flaking)||Prevailing weather|
|Biological coverage||Biological threats|
|Lichen (crustose)||Lichen (crustose)|
|Lichen (foliose)||Lichen (foliose)|
|Grass/turf patches||Tree canopy|
|Human and animal impacts||Human and animal threats|
|Droppings (game/stock)||Stock animals|
|Wear (rubbing/trampling)||Game animals|
|Chips or scratches||Land management|
|Graffiti (carved)||Other threat|
Panels were assigned a score for each factor as follows:
|Extent of cover/erosion/damage||None||<1/3||1/3 – 2/3||> 2/3|
|Rock surface score||0||1||2||3|
|Rock art score||0||1||2||3|
|Severity of cover/erosion/damage||None||Slight||Moderate||Severe|
The highest score for each sub-group within each respective Condition and Risk group was used to indicate the current condition or the potential threat to the panel as follows:
The example illustrates how the final assessments were derived:
Example: CONDITION ASSESSMENT
|Chemical and physical erosion||Rock surface score||Rock at score||Highest score: 3|
|Differential erosion (channels/hollows)||0||0|
|Planar erosion (scaling/flaking)||2||3|
|Biological coverage||Rock surface score||Rock at score||Highest score: 2|
|Human and animal impacts||Rock surface score||Rock at score||Highest score: 1|
|Chips or scratches||0||0|
The Media page provides access to a variety of media depicting the panel, including photographs, drawings and three-dimensional models. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the image, then use the toolbar to move backwards and forwards through the images, or to start a slide show. To download an image, use your mouse to right- click then select the ‘Save Picture as’ option. High resolution versions can be obtained by selecting the ‘Original’ link in the title bar of each image. This applies to all the images in the Media display.
Conventional photographs [top]
Images capture a range of perspectives, including the panel itself with scale bars to indicate the size, close-ups of particular motifs or areas of damage, the wider setting of the panel, and views from the location.
Panorama shots are available for some of the panels.
Stereo photographs [top]
Pairs of stereo photographs provide the raw data for the creation of photogrammetry models. They are provided here to enable you to download them and to process your own models using appropriate software. Supporting information required for processing is supplied in the text file and in the Recording Form also provided. For more information on photogrammetry image capture and processing see Photogrammetry.
Photogrammetry models [top]
These models provide a means to view and manipulate the rock surface in three dimensions. You will need to download the zipped folders and will also need appropriate viewing software. For further help with this see Help with 3D models and viewing software. To find out more about the technique of photogrammetry and how the models were created see Photogrammetry.
For Beckensall Archive records (i.e. those in Northumberland), black and white drawings of the panels are available. These are the work of Stan Beckensall, and they are based on wax rubbings made by Stan, supported by repeated observations of each panel. The drawings were made over an extended period and may not reflect the current state of the panels, which may have become more or less exposed, and may have suffered from erosion. It is also worth remembering that these are 2D representations of 3D panels, so allow for this when making comparison with photographs.
Sketches are included for most of the panels. These were created by the volunteers in the field to provide a rough plan, to scale, of the outline of the panel, with the location of significant features, both carved and natural. They are not intended to be a highly accurate representation.
Bubbleworld images [top]
These allow you to experience the landscape setting of rock art panels. They are available for some of the Beckensall Archive panels.
Field Definitions & Explanatory Notes [top]
The following notes relate to specific database fields and are accessible from the Search Forms and Displays by clicking on the individual Field Names wherever they occur.
Grouped by Results Display
- Conservation & Management
OS National Grid Reference [top]
Ordnance Survey national grid reference number. The diagram below represents an OS map. The grid reference for the dot is NU 1387 2770.
SAM reference [top]
Scheduled Ancient Monuments Reference, assigned by English Heritage. 'Scheduling' is shorthand for the process through which nationally important sites and monuments are given legal protection by being placed on a list, or 'schedule'. English Heritage takes the lead in identifying sites in England which should be placed on the schedule by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. A schedule has been kept since 1882 of monuments whose preservation is given priority over other land uses. The current legislation, the AncientMonuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, supports a formal system of Scheduled Monument Consent for any work to a designated monument. Scheduling is the only legal protection specifically for archaeological sites.
NMR reference [top]
The National Monuments Record brings together a range of unique archive and information resources and services, including over 12 million photographs, plans, drawings and reports.Since 1 April 1999, the NMR has been designated as the public archive of English Heritage and is responsible for curatorial and dissemination services associated with heritage datasets and archives corporately. The archives repository and main customer services activities are based in the National Monuments Record Centre (NMRC) in Swindon, Wiltshire.
Local SMR/HER reference [top]
Sites and Monuments or Histroic Environment Records are maintained locally by County Councils or National Park Authorities (see http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/CHR/.
Museum accession number [top]
A unique identification number applied by museum curators.
The exact nature of the motifs identified may differ with separate recording projects. 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. 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.
Tool marks [top]
Indicates the presence of tool marks, usually ‘pecks’ either within the motifs or dispersed on the panel.
Natural features [top]
Indicates the presence of features where the nature and origin could not be definitely determined. These marks may have natural, geological origin or be the result of differential weathering, or may be the result of human or animal impacts from scratching to quarrying. Recent research also suggests that prehistoric people may have incorporated natural features into their carvings, sometimes enhancing them. This means that it is difficult to determine whether some features are natural or human made.
Length of longest axis
Length of widest part of the panel.
Maximum height of panel above ground level.
Orientation of panel [top]
Orientation of the longest axis.
Slope of carved area [top]
Indicates the slope in degrees of the carved surface of the rock relative to the horizontal (not the slope of the ground). This is relevant to aspects such as water run off, exposure and visibility.
Orientation of slope [top]
Indicates the orientation of the inclined surface, from top to bottom e.g. West-East
Panel geology [top]
The geological classification of the panel. (This may be different from the geology of the underlying bedrock if the panel is an erratic boulder). Analysis of distribution maps suggests a strong relationship between solid geology and rock art. In England the majority of rock art clusters are located in sedimentary (sandstone) areas.
Sedimentary - includes sandstone (e.g. millstone grit), mudstones, limestone and conglomerates
Igneous - includes granite, tuff, gabbro
Metamorphic - includes shale, schist, slate
Compactness of surface [top]
Indicates the stability of (sandstone) rock surfaces and may help in assessing the vulnerability of rock art to erosive forces.
Unconsolidated - flaky and falling apart
Very friable - leaves grains on your fingers when you rub it gently
Friable - leaves a few grains on your fingers when you rub it gently
Hard - no traces of grains
Grain size [top]
Indicates the size of (sandstone) grains in microns (1 micron = one millionth of a meter)
Fine <250 mic
Medium 250 – 500 mic
Coarse 500-1000 mic
Very coarse >1000 mic
Visible components [top]
Indicates the presence of any visible component (included in sandstone):
Quartz - transparent/white, usually near spherical (80-100% of grains in sandstones, usually >95%)
Mica - thin sheets of highly reflective grains, usually white-buff in colour (muscovite), usually found along bedding surfaces in fine sandstones (these become layers of weakness along which fine sandstones can be split
Feldpsar - white/cream/browny-orange grains, generally rectangular. Can make up about 20% of sandstones; usually in local sandstones the feldspar has decayed is stained browny-red. Often these grains are simply washed away, leaving neat rectangular gaps in the rock
Method (OS NGR) [top]
The method by which the grid reference was determined.
GPS = Geographical Positioning System, accurate to between 3 and 15 m.
Note: the accuracy of GPS equipment is reduced where rock art panels lie within plantations.
Name of museum where panel is currently held. Note: panel may not be on display.
County in which panel was originally found.
Parish in which panel was originally found, correct at Aug 1 2008.
Parish in which panel was originally found, correct at Aug 1 2008.
Nearest place name [top]
Name of nearest settlement or feature shown on the OS map.
Height in metres above ordnance datum [m OD] (average sea level taken from the Ordnance Survey datum point at Newlyn, Cornwall).
Method (altitude) [top]
Method by which altitude was determined. GPS = Geographical Positioning System, accurate to approx. 10 m. Note: the accuracy of GPS equipment is reduced where rock art panels lie within plantations.
Indicates the topographical or ‘landscape’ situation of the panel (analysis of landscape position suggests that particular locations may have been favoured by carvers of rock art panels).
Description of the terrain in the immediate vicinity, i.e. within 10 m of the panel.
Sloping (e.g. hillside) – panel is on a slope, for example on the side of a hill or valley.
Flat (e.g. plateau) – panel is on level ground. This may be at any elevation, e.g. plateau, a coastal plain or a terrace. Also select this option if the panel is on the top of a small knoll.
The position of the panel in relation to the topography within 500 m of the panel.
Top (e.g. summit) – panel is at or close to the highest elevation in the area for example a hill top, valley ridge, or plateau.
Middle (e.g. hillside) – panel is moderately elevated compared to the local topography, for example on a hill or valley side, or a terrace.
Bottom (e.g. valley floor) – panel is low-lying relative to the local topography, e.g. in or close to a valley bottom, or on a coastal plain. Also select this option if panel is on a small knoll in the valley bottom.
Current land use [top]
This may be very different to that in the prehistoric period, and may indicate how accessible the panel is. A great deal of rock art is found on open moorland, rough grassland or open pasture with sheep or cattle.
Heathland/moorland – land is that is unenclosed with rough grass, heather and/or bracken cover.
Undisturbed grassland – enclosed grassland which is not actively managed to improve the quality of the pasture, or only managed at a low intensity.
Improved pasture – land that is enclosed and has been improved through mechanisms which might include stone clearance, drainage, ploughing, re-seeding and fertilization.
Wood/forest – a plantation, or a natural/managed woodland or forest.
Bog/marsh – a boggy or marshy area
Arable – panel within or at the edge of an arable field or ploughed land.
Urban – built environment including parkland, gardens, thoroughfare (any form of vehicular track), waste ground (area of untidy and agricultural waste land), golf course etc.
Military – land owned the MoD., e.g. for training.
Conservation – area set aside for nature conservation, e.g. Woodland Trust or Nature Reserve.
Other – other land uses not covered above.
Proximity to water [top]
It is possible that there is a relationship between the location of rock art sites and water. Many sites appear to relate to springs or head water (although these may have shifted through time), or to fringe lakes, ponds and rivers.
Solid geology [top]
The rock type or geological classification of the underlying bedrock. (This may be different from the geology of the panel). Analysis of distribution maps suggests a strong relationship between solid geology and rock art. In England the majority of rock art clusters are located in sedimentary (sandstone) areas.
Sedimentary - includes sandstone (e.g. millstone grit), mudstones, limestone and conglomerates
Igneous - includes granite, tuff,
Metamorphic - includes shale, schist, slate
Panel type [top]
Indicates the broad panel classification. Portable rocks include anything that could be carried a reasonable distance by 1 or 2 people.
Current location & provenance [top]
Indicates the current location and, where known, the provenance of the panel.
At original location – indicates that the panel to be in its original archaeological context. This includes all panels found in prehistoric structures such as monuments and burial cairns.
Moved from original location – indicates that the panel has been reused in structure (e.g. a building, field wall, iron age hill fort, gatepost), relocated but is not included in any obvious structure (for example moved to the edge of a cleared field, or to a secure location such as a garden), or placed in a private collection or museum.
Documented as lost – indicates that the panel is known to be missing.
Documented as destroyed – indicates that the panel is known to have been destroyed (e.g. by quarrying).
No documented location – indicates that previous records of the panel do not include an exact location, e.g. a grid reference.
Not located in the field – indicates that the panel cannot be located using location information from previous records, despite an extensive search.
Nearby prehistoric features [top]
Prehistoric features present within 250 m of the panel.
Current condition [top]
Indicates the nature and extent of any problems impacting the entire panel, and/or the rock art.
Physical and chemical weathering
Rock art in England is almost always carved on sandstones. For these rocks, the main cause of physical or chemical decay is dissolution or alteration of the calcite matrix which cements the geological particles together, generally due to the adverse effects of temperature, water and atmospheric pollutants. These processes result in tiny particles of the rock being lost from the rock.
Biological growths are potentially a problem for rock art, although we do not fully understand how they cause decay. It is likely that different types of biological organisms act in different ways on different types of rock, so in order to understand these relationships we first need to collect information and observe how the rocks are decaying.
Animal and human impacts
Animals and humans can cause significant damage to rock art sites both over a short time scale and longer term. This is something we can prevent or mitigate through good management, so we need to record and monitor the impact of these agents.
Potential threats [top]
Indicates the severity of any potential threats to the survival of the rock art.
Physical and chemical threats
A common threat is the presence of water, either pooling on the panel, dripping onto it or flowing across it.
Lichen can be a direct threat, penetrating the rock structure, but moss, algae and other vegetation can be a threat, holding water at the surface and increasing the potential risk.Roots are also potentially damaging, in some cases breaking apart rocks.
Human and animal threats
Panels that are close to human activity such as farming or forestry, or close to roads and footpaths face a greater threat of either accidental or deliberate damage. Stock animals may also pose a risk, causing damage by trampling, scratching or from droppings.
Using the Back Office [top]
The ERA Back Office is used for adding, validating, and amending records, and for managing access to the database. It can be accessed by Authorised Users only. To avoid duplication, new records may only be created for counties in which a major recording project has taken place with the bulk of records for that county already included on the database. If you are planning a recording project in an area not yet covered, please contact the Archaeology Data Service for advice.
Database Roles [top]
A number of different Roles provide varying levels of access as follows:
Administrator Access to all areas and functions of the Back Office including Input, Validation, Versioning, and ERA Administration (normally reserved for Local Authority Archaeologists).
Validator Access to Input, Validation, and Versioning areas of the Back Office (normally reserved for local Project Managers)
Inputter Access to Input area only (available to members of organised recording projects, and individuals recording rock art in areas where the majority of rock art is already recorded on ERA.
Accessing the Back Office [top]
Individuals may apply for permission to add new records to ERA (or to amend or expand existing ones) by contacting their Local Authority Archaeologist.
If you are granted access, you will be assigned a Database Role and given a username and password. Click on login in the upper right hand corner of the ERA website to take you to the Back Office log in screen. Enter your username and password and click 'Submit'.
To log out of the Back Office and return to the main website, click logout at the top right of the screen. To return to the main website without logging out, click the ERA Home tab. You can return to the Back Office by clicking on the padlock icon next to the login button. Note that if you are in the process of completing or validating form these will be lost if you return to the Main website. It may be easier to open two sessions of the ERA website on your browser.
To access the Back Office, click on the Login button at the top right of the ERA website, then enter your username and password.
Back Office Areas [top]
Five tabs are available in the Back Office:
Takes you back to the main website without logging you out. Note: you can return to the Back Office by clicking on the padlock icon next to the login button.
This is the default tab for the Back Office area. It shows your profile, including your personal details, username, password, and level of access (current Role and Group). To update your personal details, or to change your password, select Update from the left hand menu.
Shows messages alerting you to records that have been submitted and are awaiting validation, and records that have been validated.
Click on the message subject to view details:
Allows registered users to input, edit, validate and view old versions ERA records.
- input new record (all Back Office users)
- validate record (limited access)
- edit record (limited access)
- view all versions (limited access)
ERA Admin (Administrators only)
The area allows management of users, roles, and groups, and also allows new location information (County, District, Parish) to be added to the database as new areas are recorded.
New Records: Submission & Validation [top]
The creation of new ERA records is a two-stage process:
- The new record is submitted by Inputter using the input form, and any media files are uploaded. This step involves a number of field validation steps, for example for required fields and data formats. At this stage the record is placed in a holding area and is not published to the main database. Submission of the record triggers an email alert which appears in the Messages area.
- The record is then checked by a Validator who may either Validate or Delete the record if it is unsuitable for publication on ERA. Some edits cannot be made to this form at the validation stage (see Validation) and the record may need to be deleted and re-entered. If the record is validated, it will be published on ERA.
The Input Form
All new records intended for the ERA database should have been recorded in the field using the ERA recording form and methodology, including photography and, where possible, photogrammetry (forms and guidelines are available here). The electronic Input Form has been designed to reflect the paper form where possible although some differences in layout were unavoidable, so care should be taken when inputting each field.
To input a new record, open the Content Management tab, then select add new record from the left hand menu. This will open the input form. Inputters should already be familiar with the fields on the recording form, but for quick reference these are described in Field Definitions and Explanatory Notes.
Sections A and B
Input your record using the various drop-down lists, tick boxes, and text boxes as appropriate.
- an asterisk (*) denotes required fields. These are Panel Name, County, Panel Type, Location Type, and Access Type
- Date of Visit must be in the format nn-mmm-yyyy
- all measurements should be given in metres
- the size of Notes field text boxes can be increased by dragging the lower right corner of the text box
Section C: Uploading your media files
Each record should have an associated series of media files including (but not limited to):
Photogrammetry form (scan)
Location Sketch (scan)
Plan Sketch (scan)
General Sketch (scan)
To upload your media files click on Choose File to browse and select each file to be added. Click store to upload the selected file. If there are no problems with the rest of the data in the form, your media file will be displayed within the record. A new dialogue will be presented allowing you to input metadata relating to your file including file name, description, date created, and media type. Media Type is a required field.
Please check that you have uploaded the correct image to match the panel described in the Input Form. If you have selected the wrong image, click delete and select a different file.
Note: if errors are found in Sections A or B of the form (see Submission) these must be corrected first, and the media file re-selected.
When you are happy with the form and the media files, click Submit New Panel. If all the fields have been correctly input, you will be returned to the Content Management tab home page. If there are any problems with missing fields or data formats, these will be listed in red. You should make the corrections and re-submit the record.
If you wish to leave the form before it is complete then you can exit the form by using the Back button on your browser to return to the Content Management home page.
What happens next?
Once submitted, your record will be placed in a holding area (you will not be able to view it on the live ERA database), and an alert message will be generated showing that it is awaiting validation by an authorised Validator (usually this will be your Local Authority Archaeologist). If there are any problems with the record you may be contacted for clarification or asked to re-enter the data. This validation stage is essential to ensure the accuracy and quality of the records on ERA. If your record is validated you should be informed, and will be able to see your data published on the database.
Validating records (Validators and Administrators only)
Validators should review only records for panels in their own Local Authority Area (LAA staff) or Project area (leaders of local project areas). Validation is required for both new records, and published records that have been amended.
To validate a record that has been submitted, open the Content Management tab, then select validate record from the left hand menu. You will be presented with a list of records requiring validation.
At this stage you can choose to delete the record (if, for example it is a known duplicate or should not have been submitted for any reason) or to validate it.
Note: If you select delete the record will be immediately removed from the holding area; it cannot be retrieved.
If you elect to validate a record, you will be presented with the input form as submitted by the inputter.
Note: The following fields cannot be edited at the validation stage: Prehistoric Feature Types, Threats & Conditions, Media Creation Date. If any of these sections are incorrect you must delete the panel using the button at the bottom of the form and ask the inputter to re-enter it with the correct data.
If you are satisfied that the record is correct then click the validate button at the bottom of the form. This action will publish the record to the main ERA database.
If there are serious problems with the record you may choose to delete it from the holding area.
If you wish to defer your decision, for example, in order to check facts or discuss any issues with the Inputter, then you can exit the form by using the Back button on your browser to return to the Validation list.
Modifying published records (Administrators only) [top]
Database Administrators are able to edit any record on the database, for example to record changes to its condition or location. This may include uploading additional photographs.
Amending the record
To modify a record that has been submitted, open the Content Management tab, then select edit record from the left-hand menu. You will be prompted for the ERA ID for the record you wish to edit. This can be found on all ERA records in the top right hand corner.
Enter the number and click Submit to access the record. Once you have made the required changes and/or added any new media.
The updated record will become available for validation.
Version control (Administrators only)
When a record is modified and validated a new version is created with a new ERA ID no. Note: only the most recent version is available via ERA, although this retains the original ID no.
To view the version history, open the Content Management tab then select view all versions from the left-hand menu. Input the ERA ID of the original record and you will be presented with a list of the versions with their ERA ID numbers.
Note: to create a new version using the edit panel function, you should always use the original ERA ID (version 1) to retrieve the record.