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Ancient British Rock Art

2 3 different styles. It seems somewhat surprising that, while so much is made of the cave paintings at Altamira in Spain and at Lascaux in France, in our own environment exist some of the most mysterious, enigmatic and beautiful designs which, until fairly recent times, have gone largely unnoticed. I cant remember exactly how I came to be aware of ancient rock carvings. I was born and lived in Durham for many years, totally unaware that within an hours drive were excellent examples of prehistoric art, at Dod Law, Old Bewick and Roughting Linn in Northumberland, and at Barningham Moor in County Durham, I can only say that my joy at their discovery and my subsequent involvement has led me to an area of research which gives me continuous pleasure. As an artist myself, my interest in rock art is largely visual, I do not claim to be an archaeological historian, but, as this seems to be a visual language, I think we can look at them as we would any other work of art. I have been significantly inspired and fascinated by the research of people such as Stan Beckensall, Michael J. OKelly and Martin Brennan, and by organisations like the Ilkley Archaeology Group, the Royal Commission for Historic Monuments in Scotland, the Kilmartin House Museum and the Newgrange Museum in Ireland. If it was not for the excellent work and contribution of people such as these the subject would hardly be in evidence. This book mainly covers examples of carvings from Great Britain and Ireland, but it is worth mentioning that rock art exists all over the world. For me these drawings have a particular mystery and visual beauty which is impossible to assess, evidence of a bygone intelligence and culture, and it gives me great pleasure to share with those who look at this book some of that mystery and some of the time I have spent with this fascinating subject. Chris Mansell
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