We believe in performing the most detailed recording possible without touching or impacting the rock art panel in any way. We accomplish this by using a technique common in Australia, Europe and South Africa that involves combining field sketches and tracing the image from a photograph, and re-visiting the site later with the tracing, to check for accuracy. This provides accuracy as well as flexibility in recording rock art in the widest variety of circumstances and conditions. As a result, we are able to provide quality documentation at a very reasonable cost. If required, we are able to record using other non-intrusive methods, and we can and will adapt our data collection strategies to fit the needs of the contracting agency.

Step 1: After consulting with the appropriate land manager we arrive at the site to be documented and perform an initial survey, flagging or marking artifacts and features and affixing a labeled piece of painters tape to each rock art panel (taking extreme care to place the tape well away from any rock art).

Step 2: Take GPS reading and select site datum.

Step 3: Take azimuth and measure distance from datum to each panel, feature and artifact (or datum to panel, and then panel to panel). Draw sketch-map of terrain and resources.

measuring rock art

Step 4: Draw quick field-sketch of each panel, and measure panel width, height, azimuth, inclination, and all other information required by the appropriate agency (California Parks and Recreation form in California; Inter Mountain Archaeological Center forms in other western states). Note condition and all impacts to the rock art.

sketching rock art

sketch rock art

Step 5: Take two photographs (film or digital as required by contracting agency) of each panel with 10 cm. scale; using flash, shade, or reflector as needed.

Don Christensen recording rock art

Step 6: Double-check paperwork, remove tape and police the area. Take only pictures (and measurements), leave only foot-prints.

Step 7: Take digital photographs back to office and label them. Project images onto wall (after enhancing contrast, etc.) and trace to fit onto 8½ x 11 paper.

Step 8: Revisit site and inspect tracing at each panel for accuracy, making immediate changes and notations. This also gives you a chance to view panel under different lighting and weather conditions.

Don Christensen recording rock art

Step 9: Back in the office, ink drawings while looking at photograph and field-drawing. Ink maps and complete site record, file with appropriate agency.

All our members are well versed in the use of D-Stretch.