Dating a prehistoric find

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Petroglyphs have been discovered all over the populated world, notably in parts of Africa, Scandinavia, Siberia, southwestern North America, Northern and Western Australia, and the Iberian Peninsula.

Some of these images have a special cultural and/or religious significance for the societies that created them.

Manual preparation in the way requires significantly more hours of work, however the benefits are clear to see. Although the matrix (surrounding rock) has been carefully reduced to expose the specimen, a surface lacquer has then been applied in an attempt to enhance the aesthetics.

Such practice obscures important surface details and generally results is a misleading appearance that lessens the specimen's appeal.

How on earth do you sort it all out and know what you're looking at? Here are the major prehistoric monuments you are likely to run across: Causewayed camps These are some of the oldest remains in the English landscape, dating from around 3500 B. They consist of a series of from one to four concentric rings of banks and ditches enclosing an area up to 9 hectares.

The ditches are bridged by ramps of earth, or causeways, in several places, sometimes with corresponding gaps in the banks to form an obvious place of entry.

Right: A conscientiously hand-prepared ichthyosaur skeleton from Lyme Regis (Dorset), displaying all available anatomical information and retaining the entire specimen.The mild hospitable climate of the Bronze Age deteriorated after a few thousand years leaving these areas uninhabited and consequently relatively undisturbed to the present day.There are many great guides to walking on Dartmoor, many include descriptions of these sites, but it is difficult to find guides specifically for those wanting to visit these sites.Left: A bone block appearing to contain ichthyosaur bones and teeth has been polished rather than more respectfully prepared.The result is minimally informative and parts of the specimen have been lost.

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