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A reproduced image could always be studied in situ, in cases where more thorough assessment was required, or where there was a need to check the accuracy of a reproduction. In the last few years, however, a new aspect has emerged: the accelerating deterioration. Today, we are at a point where it is imperative that the rock carvings are documented, so that this material is preserved in reproductions. Both future research and the generally increasing interest in ancient times must be based on documented materials.
It is a regrettable fact that the state of the rocks is very critical indeed, and that a large proportion of the carvings currently being documented are quite simply disappearing. A 4000-year old image tradition is drawing to an end. This is why the most important task over the next few years is: To document the rock carvings.
The material is digitalised and stored in the databases of the Swedish Rock Carving Research Archive that includes documentation of entire fields and relevant field observations. This technology makes the materials a lot easier to work with and to share with researchers and other interested persons.
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