by Wendy All
Volunteer, Rock Art Archive, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology
Backdirt' the annual review of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA.
The Rock Art Archive, directed by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, is proud to be affiliated with the Rock Art Network, as featured on the Bradshaw Foundation online resource www.rockartnetwork.net. The Rock Art Network was established by Neville Agnew and Janette Deacon in collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute and the Bradshaw Foundation. It involves individuals and institutions committed to the promotion, protection, and conservation of rock art anywhere in the world. The goals of the Rock Art Network are to foster principles of research and conservation, create a network of collaboration, and promote public and political awareness of this fragile and irreplaceable global heritage.
Since 1992 the Bradshaw Foundation, a privately funded nonprofit organization based in Geneva, has worked to create a database of rock art information. The visual resources and robust social media presence of the foundation make it an ideal partner to host the Rock Art Network. The main areas of focus of the Bradshaw Foundation are archaeology, anthropology, and genetic research, while its primary objectives are to discover, document, and preserve ancient rock art around the world, as well as to promote the study of the artistic achievements of early humankind. It funds preservation projects as well as scientific research and publications. The foundation collaborates with UNESCO, the Royal Geographic Society, the National Geographic Society, the Rock Art Research Institute in South Africa, and the Trust for African Rock Art to ensure that the programs achieve maximum impact.
Getty Conservation Institute has undertaken training courses and projects in rock art conservation and management. The www.rockartnetwork.net emerged after a series of workshops held in South Africa between 2005 and 2011 as part of the Southern African Rock Art Project, a program of the Getty Conservation Institute.
This program was extended to Australia between 2012 and 2014 as an exchange between rock art specialists, managers, and custodian communities from southern Africa and Australia. It culminated in a forum in Kakadu National Park in 2014 and a document, “Rock Art: A Cultural Treasure at Risk” in which four pillars of rock art conservation policy and practice were identified. This document served as the basis for the 2017 colloquium Art on the Rocks — A Global Heritage in Namibia, headed by Neville Agnew, where Wendy All represented the Rock Art Archive (see Backdirt 2017:23–29).
In 2018 a similar colloquium, with the title Art on the Rocks—Developing Action Plans for Public and Professional Networking, was held in California and Texas to continue this work. The Rock Art Archive, represented by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, John Bretney, and the author, hosted a trip to Little Lake Ranch (see Backdirt 2018:12). In October 2019, Van Tilburg attended the colloquium Replication as Conservation of Rock Art, hosted by Jean-Michel Geneste. As part of this event, she visited the sites of Chauvet, Lascaux, and Altamira in France and Spain.
The Bradshaw Foundation is exemplary of how a well-designed website can reach a worldwide community and how networks facilitate the sharing of resources and information, not only for research by individuals and institutions but also to support conservation efforts. The Rock Art Archive looks forward to continued collaboration with the Bradshaw Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Rock Art Network.