Volunteers are finally ready to go forth on their mission to survey hundreds of ancient stone carvings on Rombalds Moor.

After more than a year of specialist training, a group of 20 volunteers gathered at Ilkley’s Clarke Foley Centre on Friday for their final briefing before setting out on the CSI (Carved Stone Investigation) Rombalds Moor project.

The volunteers have been training for the past sixteen months and will spend the next eighteen months surveying and recording the stones.

This will put to the test their drawing, photography and photogrammetry techniques, producing 3D computerised images of the stones, as well as detailed written records.

The trained volunteers will also carry out a land survey of the area where the stones are found.

The aim of the project is to record the many carvings on stones across the moor before the destructive power of wind, rain and ice on the exposed upland landscape – as well as the erosion caused by growing vegetation – erases the images forever.

Community Archaeologist Gavin Edwards said: “The survey on Rombalds Moor will be the most comprehensive of its kind ever to be undertaken, and with the help of the volunteers we will have gathered very valuable information.

“Prehistoric carvings are a unique and valuable part of our heritage, providing a direct link with the people who lived here over 5,000 years ago.

“It is important to try and capture a detailed record of the carved stones and their surrounding lands, both for current studies and to guide conservation management, so we can protect them for future generations.”

Overseeing the volunteers are archaeologist Tertia Barnett, rock art expert Kate Sharpe and art researcher Richard Stroud.

The project is managed by rural regeneration enterprise Pennine Prospects.

It is part of a wider Watershed Landscape scheme, which won almost £2million of lottery funding last year to restore the landscape of the South Pennines uplands.

The volunteers were recruited from the community at a launch and workshop event last year.