The 'British Rock Art Collection' is a large image gallery covering almost 1200 rock art sites across the British Isles. The collection was setup by Dutch rock art enthusiast, Jan Brouwer and his friend Gus Van Veen (above, Gus-left, Jan-right). Their intention was to bring together images covering as many rock art sites in the UK as possible. Using photographs from their own collections and those contributed by other active rock art enthusiasts, it was possible to create a large and impressive gallery.
The original BRAC gallery was located on 'Fotopic' (a popular hosting website) and over several years Jan Brouwer grew the collection to well over 18,000 images. Sadly, in 2011 Jan became ill and passed away, and around this time Fotopic also closed down, so the rock art gallery was lost too.
As a tribute to Jan and his contribution to the study of British rock art, his friends have taken steps to 'rescue' the BRAC gallery and rebuild it into the current version seen on this site. The 'plan' is to restore as much of the original site as possible, in order to provide a resource for those interested in the subject. It may then be kept in this form as an archive or further sites may be added in the future.
Essentially, the British Rock Art Collection was created by Jan Brouwer, and he wanted to share it with everyone - to give people a chance to see and perhaps understand something of these fascinating ancient carvings. Jan was a good friend to many people and he is greatly missed. If you browse the images in the Field Trips and Rock Art Meetings section you will see something of his 'character'.
So, as he would say (in his dutch accent) ..... "Keep on Rocking"!
What happened to the old BRAC?
As noted above, BRAC was originally hosted on Fotopic, but in March 2011 Fotopic shut down without warning and the company went into receivership. The 'online' nature of Fotopic meant that there was no real backup of the BRAC website, so it was effectively lost.
It appears that the Fotopic servers (and customers images) were bought by another company with the intention of merging the photo gallery service into their own website, but for various reasons this did not happen. This should have been the last chance for Fotopic (and the BRAC gallery), as the new owners were under no obligation to previous Fotopic customers. However, over a year later (October 2012) the old Fotopic servers were brought temporarily back online to allow account holders to download their image collections. The cost of setting up and hosting this retrieval site was absorbed by the company as a generous gesture of good will. (We believe Anyweb ltd and Talowin Media deserve much 'kudos and good karma' for this.)
Although a full copy of the BRAC website no longer existed on the servers, 18,000 photographs were retrieved and these were re-assembled using the JALBUM photo gallery software. With 18,000 images and seperate captions, this process took a while!, but the gallery is now in website form and can be hosted on any site.
The majority of images were provided by Jan Brouwer and his friends. A smaller number were also used with permission from the owners, but given the recent history of the BRAC it is not possible to identify the owner of every single image, so if any discrepencies are noted please let us know via the contact page.
Hopefully the colaborative nature of BRAC will continue to make it the largest gallery of British rock art available on the Net.