Rock art is very visual. We need to see it clearly in order to appreciate it, study it, and understand it better. Most carvings are on rocks in the open landscape, and have been eroded by thousands of years of weathering, or covered in vegetation. As a result, they can be very difficult to see. They become far more visible under certain lighting conditions, particularly when the sun is low and makes deep shadows in the carvings. Taking photographs under specific light conditions is a good way to view and identify the engraved symbols.
Have a look at our Gallery to see a selection of rock art images from different regions of Scotland. These images were created by our Community Teams, and the Gallery will develop during the project as the Teams record more panels, so keep visiting this page!
The carved rock surfaces are rarely flat. Traditional methods of recording rock art through drawings, rubbings, tracings, and photographs do not capture the true shape or three-dimensional nature of the rock. This makes it difficult to study the relationship between the motifs and the rock surface, and to analyses why particular rocks may have been selected for carving.
We are working with our Community Teams to create 3D models of hundreds of rock art panels across Scotland. The models will contribute to our research, and to wider appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of Scotland's rock art. In this section, you can also browse the 3D Models co-produced by our Community Teams. The range of models will grow as the project develops, so keep visiting!