Dr. Dandrige recording rock art in situ
North American rock art is a significant but dwindling cultural resource. The limited amount of glyphs that survived to the present are falling prey to damage from natural erosion, pollution, and vandalism. Debra E. Dandridge works on new methods for the conservation, curation, and managment of these important resources.
Working with APRL, Dr. Dandridge developed new ways of removing grafitti paint from vandals without damaging the delicate material beneath. Her PhD dissertation explored the effects of lichens on decorated rock surfaces to better understand the conservation, preservation and management of these sites.
Other researchers, such as Ann Miller have explored the feasibility of preserving glyphs by using silicone terminated polydimethylsilanes with silanes to consolidate limestone. Limestone is used in many ancient buildings, monuments and statues, and is often a surface that rock art is painted on. Limestone surfaces erode over time, a process that is accelerated in modern times due to the increase in acid rain and other atmospheric pollutants. Miller's research focused on the feasibility of preserving limestone surfaces using siloxane polymers, and determind that several combinations were effective limestone consolidants, and protected the stones from water absorption and accelerated weathering.
For more information, see
2001, Ann E. Miller - "Preservation of Limestone Material Culture with Siloxanes" - Master of Science Thesis, Texas A&M University.