This article describes the recording of stone 11 of the Castlerigg stone circle in Cumbria through two different non-contact techniques: laser scanning and ground-based remote sensing. Despite the unproblematic recording of modern graffiti, neither technique was able to document the spiral photographed and rubbed in 1995. It is concluded that the spiral was most probably painted and has since faded away due to natural events. The discovery and loss of the spiral motif in Castlerigg is seen as a cautionary tale. In particular, it seems to suggest that it is time to take advantage of the novel technologies based on the digitisation of 3D surfaces with millimetre and submillimetre accuracy such as laser scanning and ground-based remote sensing. They offer many advantages to the recording of prehistoric carvings. In addition to avoiding direct contact with the rock surface eliminating the preservation concerns raised by other techniques, both produce high quality images (laser scanning offering a greater potential for this, but at higher cost) having a much higher level of objectivity, and precision and accuracy far beyond those of traditional recording methods such as wax rubbings and scale drawings.