Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Dynamics (PhD)

Degree Level



Environmental Dynamics


Thomas Paradise

Committee Member

Fiona Davidson

Second Committee Member

George Sabo III


Social sciences, Communication and the arts, Cultural stone decay, Heritage tourism, Rapid field assessment, Repeat photography, Rock art, Rock art stability index


As tourism continues to grow as one of the world’s most ubiquitous markets, the development and promotion of non-invasive techniques for cultural stone decay analysis and landscape change are vital to establishing conditional base-lines to best aid cultural heritage management (CRM) efficacy. Using rock art as a medium, this dissertation presents three independent case studies employing the Rock Art Stability Index (RASI) and repeat photography to explore the merits of mixed rapid field assessment techniques in relation to CRM and heritage tourism. While rock art is only one example of irreplaceable world heritage resources, examining how they decay and what methods can effectively quantify their change provides valuable data leading to a better understanding of human/environment interaction within the context of tourism and cultural resource management. The first case study examines the applicability of combining the two methods on rock art in the Arkansan Ozark region, showing considerable promise. The second addresses the temporal flexibility of the mixed methods on rapidly changing, and highly impacted, rock art sites on Grenada, West Indies, demonstrating the method pairing’s tremendous monitoring and emergency response potential. The third case study explores adapting RASI to analyze other forms of cultural stone by employing the mixed methods on selected hewn monuments in Petra, Jordan, aptly identifying a critical disparity between appearance and stability. Ultimately, each case study exemplifies different aspects of cultural stone decay and modern challenges: from initial preliminary evaluations to assessing the impact of uninformed conservation efforts, and examining the influences of mass tourism and human interaction at heritage sites. Mixed field techniques effectively highlighted both the need for and benefits of employing such methods for rock art management, cultural stone stability, and global heritage management.