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17 November 2010
Prehistoric Ilkley Moor carvings in 3D

Prehistoric carvings on Ilkley Moor (the moorland between Ilkley and Keighley in West Yorkshire, England) are to be preserved with help from the latest technology so future generations will be able to enjoy and study them. Archaeologists hope to create digital 3D models of the carvings amid fears the originals could be eroded away.
     Community archaeologist Gavin Edwards said this was an important development. He said: "We have the opportunity to create three-dimensional models so they can be studied in the future as they exist in the landscape itself."
     The carvings were made in what is known as the Mesolithic era which started at the end of the last ice age in about 10,000 BCE. It is thought they were made by some of the first hunter-gatherers to reach what is now Ilkley Moor - an area which now has the highest concentration of Mesolithic sites in the world.
     Gavin Edwards explained: "What we have is a dense concentration of evidence telling us about how the very first people who moved back into this area were exploiting the landscape and how they were surviving. They are part of the story of how human interaction with their surroundings started to change the very appearance of the landscape."
     The Prehistoric Carved Rocks project has been launched by Pennine Prospects, an organisation dedicated to the regeneration of the South Pennines. The project's aim is to ensure that even if the original carvings erode away due to the effects of the weather they will still available for study in centuries to come.
     Volunteers are now being urged to come forward to join in the Prehistoric Carved Rocks project in Ilkley. They will be given the chance to find out more about the project and register their interest. In the coming months, training sessions covering surveying, recording and photographic techniques will take place. It it is hoped volunteers will then be able to put all these skills into action on Ilkley Moor over the next three years.

Edited from BBC News (8 November 2010)

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