Prehistoric rock art research is included in the wider archaeological research framework for Scotland. The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) reflects the current state of knowledge regarding Scotland’s past, and the priorities for future research. As understanding of the past changes, so too does ScARF. It is as a live document that is constantly updated, edited and improved. The people developing ScARF are the people who use it: those who research Scotland’s past for enjoyment, employment, or frequently both.
Part of the ScARF is dedicated to summarising current knowledge and identifying research objectives for all carved stones in Scotland, whether they are prehistoric, Pictish, Early Christian, or more recent. The aim of this framework (Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland) is to link, inspire, mobilize and help direct the efforts of anyone with an interest in or responsibility for carved stones in Scotland. It is a venture that involves the academic community, the fragmented heritage and stewardship sectors, and individuals and communities across Scotland and beyond.
The Framework provides a valuable source of information about past, present and future initiatives focusing on carved stones. In addition to using the online wiki, you can find our more by downloading Listen to the Stones, a popular summary booklet, and illustrated PDFs of the core text and its 39 case studies.
You can also find other resources on the Listen to the Stones downloads page, including an illustrated poster summarizing the approach to the Framework, structured around the heritage cycle: understanding, valuing, caring and engaging.
Scotland's Rock Art Project is working with communities to co-produce rock art data for research. Follow this link for an overview of our work, and rock art research in Scotland.
Prehistoric carvings are one of Scotland's greatest mysteries. During the project, we will be exploring three main research themes to help improve understanding of our rock art.
Scotland's rock art is a unique part of our historic environment. During this project we shall be exploring what it means to people, and how we value it today.
In November 2019 we ran two research workshops focusing on specific themes relevant to the project’s objectives, methods and outcomes. In this section you can download summaries of the discussions.
Survey and excavation around rock art panels in Britain and Ireland have made some exciting discoveries in recent years. Visit this page to find out how these projects contribute to our knowledge of rock art.