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Ancient rock art in Northumberland, thought to be up to 6,000 years old, could disappear because of changing weather conditions, experts warn.

Newcastle University researchers have called for urgent action to protect the Neolithic and Bronze Age carvings.

The team studied examples across the county and found they were at risk from the UK’s warmer and wetter climate.

They are now developing a toolkit for landowners to identify and protect rock art which is most at risk.

Hundreds of examples of rock art have been found across the north of England, most thought to be between 4,000 and 6,000 years old.

They are mostly found on sandstone and the decoration is usually of cup-like features or complex patterns of cups, rings and grooves.

The university team studied 18 rock panels and looked at the effects of factors such as soil moisture, salinity and height.

They found that the height of a panel and soil quality had the most potential impact on stone deterioration.

The team is conducting further research in other locations in the UK and the Republic of Ireland to understand how rock art created on other stones may be affected.

Chris Sabian is a portrait artist with http://www.kutefineart.com and owner of http://www.paragonprints.co.uk

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