Research Workshops

On the 21st and 22nd of November 2019 we organized and ran two research workshops focusing on specific themes relevant to the project’s objectives, methods and outcomes. 

The aim of the workshops was to provoke wide-ranging and stimulating discourse around each of the specified themes. Each workshop involved up to 30 invited academics and practitioners whose research interests intersect with and augment those of the project. 

The workshops were informal and discussion based, comprising two sessions, each structured around a keynote talk, followed by provocative questions posed by three or four early career researchers and more established academics, and discussions around the issues presented by each provocateur.

Find out more about these discussions by downloading the transcripts of Workshop 1 and Workshop 2 here. 

The Workshop presentations can be viewed in pdf format by clicking on the title of each presentation list below.


Workshop 1: Research Approaches to Rock Art 


Session 1: Theoretical approaches

Session 2: Digital approaches and emerging technologies

The two interlinked themes of this workshop explored the relevance of different methods for approaching, analysing and interpreting archaeological data for rock art research. What other perspectives should we be considering? How best to deal with large and multivariant datasets? How can we reconcile intangible and digital data? Is there a place for emerging technologies in rock art studies? Can rock art data inform digital approaches and emerging technologies?


SESSION 1. Theoretical Approaches

KEYNOTE SPEAKER Antonia Thomas, University of Highlands and Islands:  Experiencing Neolithic art in the past and present

Andrew Cochrane, Royal Horticultural Society:
Creativity in rock art: from matters of fact to matters of concern

Aaron Watson, Durham University: Structure from (e)motion 










Seren Griffiths, University Central Lancashire:
Moving beyond visual aesthetics

Gregory Currie, York University:
Symbols, artefacts and the idea of an aesthetic explanation

SESSION 2. Digital approaches 

KEYNOTE SPEAKER Andrew Bevan, University College London:
Human-computer interaction in the prospection, visualisation and analysis of archaeological evidence such as rock art

Mark Lake, University College London:
Modern spatial statistics move us beyond environmental determinism

Xavier Rubio-Campillo, Edinburgh University
How do I know if I am wrong? Data, plausibility and hypothesis testing

David Cowley, Historic Environment Scotland:
’Still’ in the eye of the beholder? Beyond looking at digital data

Marta Díaz-Guardamino, Durham University:
Beyond ‘pretty images’: digital technologies, rock art, and posthumanism


Workshop 2: Heritage Social Value and Community Engagement 


Session 1: Social value

Session 2: Community engagement

The key purpose of this workshop was to explore the themes of social value and community engagement in relation to one another, and their relevance to heritage, and to rock art specifically. How do we define social value? What affects our sense of value of our heritage? What are the wider implications of community engagement for social value? How do we evaluate, interpret and share both social value and community engagement? How and what does an understanding of social value and its motivators contribute to archaeological research and practice? In what ways can community engagement enhance research?


SESSION 1. Social Value

KEYNOTE SPEAKER Sian Jones, Stirling University:
Valuing the Social

Liz Robson, Stirling University:
There is no such ‘thing’ as social value

Katie Mills, Manchester University:
Can weather add value to visitor experiences of stone heritage?

Chiara Bonacchi, Stirling University:
Networked individualism in digital heritage

Yang Wang, Glasgow University:
The social inclusive nature of the emotional bonds between people and the historic environment

SESSION 2. Community Engagement

KEYNOTE SPEAKER Gavin MacGregor, Northlight Heritage:
Towards common good with common purpose

Suzie Thomas, University of Helsinki:
What social values emerge when heritage is difficult or contested?

Kenny Brophy, Glasgow University:
Local art for local people

















Workshop 1: Programme 

































Workshop 2: Programme 





Scotland's Rock Art Project worked 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. 

Our Research

Prehistoric carvings are one of Scotland's greatest mysteries. During the project, we explored three main research themes to help improve understanding of our rock art. 


Research Framework

Carved stones of all periods are a priceless and vulnerable part of Scotland's heritage. How should we best research, conserve, protect, and engage them? The Carved Stones Research Framework provides informed answers! 


Other Research

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.