Care and Management of Ancient Stone Monuments During Environmental Change

Myra J. Giesen, Aron D. Mazel, David W. Graham, Patricia A. Warke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ancient stone monuments (ASMs), such as standing stones and rock art panels, are powerful and iconic expressions of Britain’s rich prehistoric past that have major economic and tourism value. However, ASMs are under pressure due to increasing anthropogenic exposure and changing climatic conditions, which accelerate their rates of disrepair. Although scientific data exists on the integrity of stone monuments, most applies to “built” systems; therefore, additional work specific to ASMs in the countryside is needed to develop better-informed safeguarding strategies. Here, we use Neolithic and Bronze Age rock art panels across Northern England as a case study for delineating ASM management actions required to enhance monument preservation. The state of the rock art is described first, including factors that led to current conditions. Rock art management approaches then are described within the context of future environments, which models suggest to be more dynamic and locally variable. Finally, a Condition Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE) scheme is proposed to help prioritise interventions; an example of which is provided based on stone deterioration at Petra in Jordon. We conclude that more focused scientific and behavioural data, specific to deterioration mechanisms, are required for an ASM CARE scheme to be successful.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage and Sustainable Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • management ancient stone monuments
  • condition assessment
  • climate change
  • resilience

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