Welcome to the website for the Scotland’s Rock Art Project! Around 5000 years ago, people in Scotland carved mysterious symbols on rock surfaces across the landscape. We call these prehistoric carvings ‘rock art’ and, if we look carefully, we can still see traces of them today. Thousands of prehistoric carvings are known in Scotland, and there may be many more waiting to be discovered. They were clearly important to the people that created them, but we know little about how were they used, or what purpose they served.
Between 2017 and 2021, Scotland’s Rock Art Project trained and worked with communities across the country to learn more about these enigmatic carvings. On this website you can find out more about our approach and results. You can search our database for prehistoric carvings in Scotland, and discover more about rock art here and elsewhere in the world.
Scotland’s Rock Art Project (ScRAP) is the first major research project focusing on prehistoric rock art in Scotland. It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and hosted by Historic Environment Scotland, in collaboration with Edinburgh University, and Glasgow School of Art. Our aim is to enhance understanding and knowledge of Scotland’s rock art through community co-production and research. We are training people across Scotland to record the prehistoric carvings. This information will help us study the carvings, and raise awareness of them locally, nationally and internationally.
Rock art is one of the most fascinating and mysterious aspects of our past. Rock art refers to images, symbols, and marks that have been painted or engraved onto natural rock surfaces. People have been creating rock art across the world for over 40,000 years. We find it deep within caves, in rock shelters, and on outcrops and boulders in the open landscape.
In this section you will find information to help you identify and record Scotland’s rock art. You can also explore our reading list and web links to learn more about rock art in Scotland and elsewhere in the world.
During this project, we will use information gathered by our Community Teams to research rock art across the whole of Scotland. We will explore the carvings in relation to their surroundings, how their use has changed through time, and how we value them today.
Visit our Events page to find out more about our forthcoming training, talks, guided walks, and other activities across Scotland.