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Rock Art

Lower Mushroom Shelter, uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park, Sout Africa (01/01/2009) © Aron Mazel | Aron Mazel

Concerning Rock Art, for the purpose of the Thematic Programme, it is understood in the form of paintings and engravings as clear and long-lasting evidence for the transmission of human conceptual thoughts and beliefs through art and graphic representations. Experiences shared by site managers and international experts have highlighted a wide range of issues such as the spiritual significance of Rock Art, the need for multidisciplinary research, and the value of involving the descendants of the original artists both in management and decision-making, as well as assistance to develop guidelines for dealing with stakeholders, to understand natural processes of weathering and to initiate and maintain documentation and monitoring systems for World Heritage sites.

World Rock Art Archives

Due to their long sequence chronology, susceptibility to climate changes and vandalism, rock art sites are also among the most vulnerable on the World Heritage List.

Rock art, in the form of paintings and engravings, is a clear and lasting evidence of the transmission of human thoughts and beliefs through art and graphic representations. It functions as a repository of memory, enabling each culture to speak about themselves and their origins in all geographical settings.
In July 2010, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre conducted a series of interviews with international experts working in the field of rock art on establishing an international digital archive in support of conserving rock art sites.


Emmanuel Anati
Director, Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici (CCSP), Capo di Ponte (Bs), Italy

Ulf Bertilsson
President ICOMOS-CAR; Project Manager, Tanum World Heritage, Sweden; Swedish Rock Art Archives, University of Gothenburg

Janette Deacon
Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa; Research Associate, Rock Art Research Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa

Benjamin Smith
Director, Rock Art Research Institute, Research Article Editor, South African Archaeological Bulletin, Associate Professor, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Felipe Criado Boado
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas de España (CSIC), España

Julián Martínez García
Instituto Andaluz del Patrimonio Histórico (IAPH), España

María Cruz Berrocal
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas de España (CSIC), España

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