Friday, February 26, 2021
Crude scratches to elaborate tags, graffiti has been knocking around for millennia.
The earliest graffiti was created well before written language, the best-known example of this can be seen in the ‘Caves of Hands’ in Argentina which dates back to 5,000 BC and is quite literally hand prints in a cave!
Cueva de las Manos (Spanish for 'cave of hands') located in province of Santa Cruz, Argentina.
A plethora of graffiti was found in Pompeii. Mainly scratched onto public walls it provides an important snapshot of what everyday life for everyday people in Pompeii was like, from gossip to expressing ideas & moods to declarations of love.
Graffiti markings on a wall in Pompeii, Italy.
Carved inscriptions began appearing in English churches in the early 18 Century as memorials to loved ones who couldn’t afford gravestones. Etched sun dials were also common on the outside of churches, telling worshippers when the next service would be.
Carved sun dial on a south facing church wall
Romans and Napoleonic soldiers through to 19th Century tourists used graffiti on ancient monuments almost like a visitors’ book. I saw this first-hand on a visit to Abu Simbel in Egypt and was amazed to see some etchings inexplicably high up. Turns out the monuments at that time had not been fully excavated. Who knew?!
Abu Simbel, Egypt
Written by Vickie Clark, February 2021.